Ballon d’Or frontrunner Cristiano Ronaldo has named three players he feels could take the world of football by storm in the next few years.
The forward, who came through the ranks at Sporting CP, before joining Manchester United and Real Madrid to cement his position as one of the greatest players ever to take to the field, spoke to Marca about the next generation of talents.
When asked if there was anyone in place to become ‘the new Cristiano Ronaldo’, the Euro 2016 winner was quick to point out that, while there are many good prospects, there can be none like him.
“No one can be the next Cristiano Ronaldo, there are no doubles. The next will be what he has to be, but never the same. That doesn’t happen.”
However, the 31-year-old, who recently signed bumper deals with both Real Madrid and Nike, did identify three players as top talents who have the potential to succeed.
“I see in Europe many young talents, I can mention several: Renato Sanches, Andre Gomes, or Joao Mario.
“There are many to choose from and I’ve only mentioned the Portuguese, but there are many in Europe who have the capacity to go far. I am very happy because these great talents assure that football will always be strong.”
All three of the Portuguese talents named by Ronaldo, secured big-money transfers following Portugal’s Euro win in the summer.
19-year-old Renato Sanches joined German champions Bayern Munich for an initial €35m, and the all action midfielder has been likened to former Netherlands stars Edgar Davids and Clarence Seedorf for his physicality and stylish play.
Andres Gomes joined Barcelona from fellow La Liga outfit Valencia for a similar fee to that of Sanches and is widely tipped as a natural successor to Andres Iniesta.
The third man identified, Joao Mario, left Ronaldo’s alma mater Sporting CP for Serie A’s Internazionale in transfer reported to be around €40m.