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Who will be the next Cristiano Ronaldo?

In light of recent rumours that Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Real Madrid, who are 4/1 to win this season’s Champions League, Coral compile a list five potential players who could become the next big superstar, when considering their on-pitch talent and box office marketability.

There has always been that type of footballer, since the start of the new millennium, mainly issuing from the Premier League. Arguably, David Beckham was the first to tick both boxes; however, he was closely rivalled by fellow Real Madrid ‘Galacticos’ Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Brazil’s legendary striker Ronaldo.

Since then, the Spanish club have part-built their business model on recruiting players that naturally possess the draw for advertisers as well as top class footballing ability. Coral analyse the next potential players who could step into Ronaldo’s shoes, whether at the Bernabeu or elsewhere.

Marco Reus
Widely tipped for a move away from Borussia Dortmund, Reus is a player who possibly has the ‘whole package’. He needs a goal-scoring, injury-free season at the Westfalenstadion if he really is to grab the footballing world’s attention; though if so, with Ronaldo attracting the attention of Manchester United, Florentino Perez may pounce.

Raheem Sterling
It’s scary to think the Liverpool talent is still only 19 and, like when Ronaldo started off at Old Trafford, he is showing signs that he can develop into one of the best players in the world. Under Brendan Rodgers, Sterling will be handled carefully, and over the next five years he could be producing performances reminiscent of the Portugal captain.

Eden Hazard
Any club will have to pay big money for this 23-year-old Belgian. A five-year contract extension is expected to be on the table at Chelsea, Hazard literally has the world at his feet. There is no question that he has the ability, though under Jose Mourinho he can become a global superstar and easily step into Ronaldo’s shoes. Over-shadowed slightly this season by Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, Hazard does face a battle to become the Blues’ main man, and there are perhaps similarities to former Stamford Bridge star Arjen Robben.

Erik Lamela
Having experienced a tough debut season in the Premier League, the 22-year-old Argentine is starting to show glimpses of his quality working under compatriot Mauricio Pochettino. He does perhaps need to bulk up slightly to cope with the physical demands of English football; however, Ronaldo cut a similarly slight figure when he first arrived in Manchester.

Antoine Griezmann
This guy has quality in spades. Having secured a move to Champions League runners-up and La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, he can go from strength to strength. First and foremost Griezmann is an old-fashioned, goal-scoring winger, who can also capably assist. Whether the 23-year-old will stay in the same position for the rest of his career remains to be seen; however, there is no doubt that he can take Ronaldo’s throne. Also a poster boy, the French Basque definitely has the marketability, and would suit United if they reverted to wingers, or even Arsenal.