Man Utd have already signed seven players dubbed ‘the next Cristiano Ronaldo’
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Not for the first time, Manchester United are being linked with another player dubbed ‘the next Cristiano Ronaldo’. River Plate forward Julian Alvarez is the latest in a long line of stars to be compared to the Portugal international. So, with that being the case, Express Sport will now take a look at the seven players they’ve signed over the years likened to the 36-year-old.
Even when Ronaldo was at the club, United were linked with players of a similar calibre to the Portugal international.
And when they signed Nani from Sporting Lisbon, obvious comparisons were made.
Both are forwards, Portuguese, capable of sublime skill and scoring goals.
Nani really kicked on after Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid in 2009, dazzling as the club won the Premier League title two years later and again in 2013.
Yet he never quite scaled the same heights as Ronaldo, leaving after Louis van Gaal took over from David Moyes.
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In January 2009, at a time where Ronaldo was being linked with a move away, in came Zoran Tosic.
Tosic would later claim he was being prepared to replace the Portugal forward, saying: “My first six months at the club were for me to prepare, to get stronger.
“And in the next six months it’s important to try and break into the team and prove that I’m a United player.
“To be honest, I think that probably Cristiano was the best player in the team and so someone will come in to take his place.”
Tosic was never able to and any hope he’d be the next Ronaldo died down within months of his arrival.
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After Ronaldo left United in 2009, they knew they needed a winger.
So they turned to Gabriel Obertan, who had impressed for Bordeaux and Lorient over in France.
Yet after just 14 Premier League appearances, Obertan was sold to Newcastle United.
The 32-year-old is currently strutting his stuff for USL Championship side Charlotte Independence these days.
And comparisons with Ronaldo have long died down as a result.
Ferguson always liked to watch a player before he signed them. That was his style, to ensure no stone was left unturned.
Yet he made an exception for Bebe, who joined the club back in the summer transfer window of 2010.
As a Portuguese forward, he found himself being compared to Ronaldo right from the start. It was clear, however, he was nowhere near the level of the club’s current No 7.
Bebe scored two goals from six matches at Old Trafford before finding a home for himself in Spain.
Currently playing for Rayo Vallecano, Bebe is looking to help them stay in La Liga this term.
Before his retirement in 2013, Ferguson clinched a deal for Wilfried Zaha.
Again, as a forward with pace, trickery and goals in his locker, many thought he’d be the ‘next Ronaldo’ the club were looking for.
Alas, they were mistaken.
Zaha was never really given a chance at Old Trafford, making just four appearances under Moyes.
He’d later say he suffered from depression in Manchester, accusing the club of not doing enough to help him settle.
Angel Di Maria
In 2014, United signed a player who had all the skills to be Ronaldo’s heir.
Angel Di Maria had shown he was world-class at Real Madrid, playing a vital role as Los Blancos won the Champions League.
And he rocked Manchester upon arriving, with a chip against Leicester a memorable moment.
Yet Di Maria never settled in the city, with a break-in at his family home impacting him both on and off the pitch.
He left after just a year, having failed to achieve consistency with Ronaldo’s old No 7 shirt on the back.
After Di Maria came Memphis Depay.
Having dazzled for PSV Eindhoven over in the Eredivisie, many thought he was the heir to Ronaldo the club had been looking for.
Alas, things didn’t work out.
Depay, like Di Maria before him, initially impressed. Yet he fell out with Van Gaal and never recovered, eventually being sold by Jose Mourinho.
Currently at Barcelona, the Dutchman is doing all he can to show he belongs at the highest level.
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