When Cristianio Ronaldo joined European giants, Real Madrid from Manchester United for a record fee of £80 million, most football pundits and fans were never in doubt of his abilities and worth.

Ronaldo joined Real Madrid after conquering England with Manchester United, winning three successive Premier League titles, a UEFA Champions League title, a FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup and even the prestigious Ballon D'or along the way.

Real Madrid did not mind breaking the bank for this rare football talent and 9 years after, they can look back and be thankful for making that vital decision.

Ronaldo's 9-year reign as the most successful Real Madrid player came to an end on Tuesday after he completed another record transfer fee of €100 million to Italian giants Juventus at the age of 33 years.

Only a Ronaldo will be bought at that rate even at 33.

Real will be desperate to fill the Ronaldo-shaped hole at Santiago Bernabéu with a striker who can match the Portuguese goal-scorer for skill on the pitch and star power off it. 

Here are four players Real may want to replace Ronaldo.

Neymar

Madrid prides themselves as a club of galaticos (stars) and Neymar loves being a star. 

The Brazilian forward joined Paris Saint-Germain from Real’s archrival, Barcelona, only last summer for a record fee of €222 million ($262 million), making him the world’s most expensive player. 

He won the league with PSG but could not keep the French side from losing to Real, the eventual champion, in the Champions League's Round of 16. 

There have long been whispers that Neymar is keen on Real (and they on him) and that a transfer from Paris to Madrid would be far easier to negotiate than from Barcelona.

PSG won’t be keen to sell, but when Real wants someone, it often gets him, and Neymar would be a worthy Ronaldo replacement.

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Eden Hazard

At 27, Hazard is in his prime and has put in dazzling displays during Belgium’s impressive World Cup run.

His sterling performance against France during Tuesday's World Cup semifinal clash convinced many fans that he is desperate to repalce Ronaldo at Madrid even though his team lost.

Spanish newspaper AS has claimed Hazard is “Plan C” for Real — after the PSG pair of Neymar and Kylian Mbappé — which the Chelsea forward may not appreciate. 

Still, Hazard has given Chelsea good service, including winning two Premier League titles, and is yet to sign a new contract. 

Kylian Mbappé

The 19-year-old Mbappé already has a big-money move to his name, with PSG having paid Monaco €180 million ($213m) for him. 

A Real Madrid fan, who grew up with posters of Ronaldo on his wall, Mbappé has enjoyed an impressive debut World Cup that has taken France to the final.

Equipped with frightening pace and skill, he has everything to one day eclipse Ronaldo as a great of the game. 

But while Real would surely love having him in its ranks, PSG will be desperate to hold on to one of its most prized assets. 

If the Spanish Champions manage to secure his signatures, we could be looking at an extremely talented player who could be taking forward Ronaldo's legacy.

Harry Kane

The England striker is set to captain his country in a World Cup semifinal and leads the race for the World Cup golden boot. 

Having scored 30 Premier League goals last season for club Tottenham Hotspur, and more than 20 goals in each of the three previous seasons, Kane has caught the attention of Real.

The Spanish giants have been linked with eye-watering bids for Kane several times, but this one looks like a non-starter. 

But Spurs have a way of letting their best legs move to Madrid with the right offer with Gareth Bale and Luca Modric coming to mind.

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