NEYMAR is the man to replace Cristiano Ronaldo but Real Madrid will find it tough to strike a deal.
That’s the verdict of Real’s former director of football Predrag Mijatovic, who helped lay the groundwork for Ronaldo’s move to the Bernabeu in 2009.
Real revealed on Tuesday evening that they had agreed to let Cristiano Ronaldo join Juventus in a move worth a cool £88m (€100m).
But they are potentially facing having to fork out double that figure as they look for a player to take his place.
Mijatovic, who scored the winner as Real beat Juventus in the 1998 Champions League final, believes Neymar is the man his old club need.
But he says the fact Paris Saint-Germain only bought the Brazilian last summer could be hugely problematic.
"My feeling now is that Madrid do not have a clear idea of what they must do now," Mijatovic told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.
"That is the worry ahead of next season, where to find a player who can give what Ronaldo has given.
"To sign someone now to score 50 or 60 goals is going to be difficult, no other player can guarantee that as Ronaldo has in these last nine years.
"I believe Neymar is the best to cover the loss, of all the players who have been at the World Cup, Neymar is the one who brings all that Madrid need, both talking about football and image.
"The image issue is something very important for Madrid, who need to bring in €600m (£530m) a year just to survive. But that is not to say that it is possible. He only signed [for PSG] last year."
Mijatovic reckons Real could have quite easily kept hold of Ronaldo, who was eager to see his contributions reflected with another huge pay rise.
"I would have done everything possible for him to stay," said Mijatovic.
"And I don't think it is that difficult to sort out, the problem between Cristiano and Madrid has been coming for a while. I understand that a player can want to leave, but you need to have a plan prepared for that.
"I don't know the situation from inside, but as a Madrid fan, they should have done everything possible to make sure we enjoyed him for one or two more years.
"It has all happened in a strange way, him talking of his upset after winning the Champions League final. A lot has gone on, and maybe Madrid thought he would stay, but the player clearly wanted to leave."