Cristiano Ronaldo’s end to the season wasn’t perhaps quite as triumphant as he would have liked. Having sealed the Champions League trophy with Real Madrid, injury then scuppered the Ballon d’Or winners’ World Cup campaign, despite his appearance in all three group games.
Portugal’s early exit from the tournament mean the former Manchester United flyer can get some important rest ahead of the new La Liga season, however the tendonitis he suffered in his knee during the World Cup have Los Blancos preparing to lighten his load next term.
Perhaps surprisingly, it’s Liverpool star Raheem Sterling who they have their eyes on to do that, and it’s a move that makes sense for the Spanish giants.
According to reports, Madrid are keen to offer in excess of £25m for the England youngster and would be getting a player with potential to match the Portuguese’s impact on the side.
Sterling played in all three of England’s group games during the World Cup, but best showed his talent in the first against Italy as he was the Three Lions star performer on the night.
That display capped off a superb season for the 19-year-old, whose nine goals helped Liverpool finish as runners up to Manchester City in the race to claim the Premier League title last campaign.
Despite just 57 top-flight appearances, Sterling has already shown himself to be a match winner and, with an abundance of pace, can be Madrid’s next go-to star.
Gareth Bale is already in Spain and is the natural successor to Ronaldo’s throne, but the La Liga giants are well-known to like having multiple stars on the pitch at any one time and believe Sterling is their future.
The Jamaica-born youngster is showing increasing versatility as a footballer too, having started to flourish in the number 10 role for both club and country.
Able to run with the ball like the Portuguese, and at the same pace, all Sterling will need to add to his game is an increased killer-instinct in front of goal.
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