Cristiano Ronaldo, as best we know, did not comment on Real Madrid’s plan to fill the void left by his departure with three players.
If he were LeBron James, he would have immediately suggested that it will take no fewer than five to replace him, but he is not, so he may let his playing do the talking.
Real plans to rely on forward Gareth Bale, Marco Asenio and Karim Benzema. They are tasked with coming up with something remotely close to the production Ronaldo supplied-450 goals in 438 matches.
The fact that Real did not deem it necessary to go outside the club and spend mass sums is testament to the strength and belief of the players in place.
It will not be long before their strategy for life after CR7 is put to the test. They will play their main rivals, Athletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup final in short order.
Real Captain Sergio Ramos fronted the media, telling reporters, “We’ve lost a very important and influential player, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop winning,” he said.“Other big players at Real Madrid have come and gone. The club rises above all of its players, including symbolic ones like him. Hopefully things go well for him and for us too.”
We could twist Ramos’ words around, but the fact of the matter is that Ronaldo was not simply symbolic, he was quite real.
Atletico is a strong side. They won the Europa League and were atop Madrid in the Spanish League.
Bale would seem capable, if not completely adequate, of filling in for Ronaldo. He came in as a substitute to score two goals for Madrid to secure the Champions League final over Liverpool, but therein lies the possible pitfall.
Bale was coming on a substitute because he has failed to properly relate to Zinedine Zidane, but since Zidane is now gone, Bale might see the light of day on more frequent basis.
New Madrid Coach Julen Lopetegui heaped praise on Bale.
“He is a super professional who is training with the eagerness of a youth,” Lopetegui said. “We are convinced that he will have a great season.”