Man United think they’ve found the ‘new Ronaldo’ at Benfica
Unearthing Cristiano Ronaldo’s talents at Sporting Lisbon was arguably Manchester United’s biggest achievement in player recruitment during the Sir Alex Ferguson era.
The Portuguese forward, who cost the Red Devils around £15m as a teenager in 2003, went on to score 118 goals in 292 outings with the Old Trafford side.
He also helped them scoop up nine domestic and European trophies during his time there and netted them a then-world-record fee when he moved to Real Madrid.
It’s understandable, then, that the scouts for the 13-time Premier League winners are desperate to find another gem as shiny as the 31-year-old and, according to latest reports, they may be close to doing so.
The Daily Mirror has dubbed Benfica winger Goncalo Guedes as the ‘new Ronaldo’ in a report which suggests United scouts were in attendance to watch the 19-year-old play before the international break.
Like Ronaldo, the teenager is represented by super-agent Jorge Mendes, so comparisons to the multi-Ballon d’Or winner may well start and end there, especially as Guedes has yet to show a Ronaldo-like eye for goal.
In 30 league games for the Eagles in his young career, the Benavente native has netted just three times, despite being listed as a second striker on football database website Transfermarkt.
His returns for the Benfica B Team have been a little better, with 11 goals coming from 38 appearances, but it has to be said that neither record stands him out as an heir to his prolific countryman’s throne.
That said, it took Ronaldo three seasons to crack double figures for a Premier League season. Once he managed it, by netting 17 times in 2006/07, he has scored 18 or more league goals in every campaign since.
No wonder the Red Devils are on the hunt for the next version of him.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing