Cristiano Ronaldo, the captain of Portugal, is unquestionably one of the greatest footballers ever to play the beautiful game. Simply looking at his accomplishments, it is easy to see why many consider him the greatest football player. Ronaldo is also the all-time leading scorer in men’s international football.
Over the last two decades, the 36-year-old has had a glittering career for club and country. Cristiano Ronaldo, a Portugal legend, was instrumental in transforming the team from a struggling nation in European football to a heavyweight.
Cristiano Ronaldo has recently led Portugal to several trophies.
He led Portugal to victory in the 2016 European Championship and the inaugural UEFA Nations League in 2019. A player like this is simply irreplaceable.
Cristiano Ronaldo always delivers for Portugal when needed, despite his country’s reliance on him. Despite his invincibility, his thoughts have begun to turn toward the certainty of his retirement at the age of 36.
On that note, here is a list of five players who, like Cristiano Ronaldo, can help Portugal after his career ends:
Number 5: Rafael Leao
Rafael Leao of AC Milan is one of the most talented young players to emerge from Portugal in recent years. Like Cristiano Ronaldo, the 22-year-old came up through Sporting Lisbon’s youth system and has represented Portugal in every age group.
Despite being only 22 years old, Rafael Leo has already emerged as an integral member of Stefano Pioli’s Milan squad.
The young player established himself in Ligue 1 with Lille before signing with AC Milan. Leao has only played three times for Portugal, all as substitutes. He replaced Cristiano Ronaldo at halftime of Portugal’s 3-0 friendly victory over Qatar.
The youngster’s potential as a goal scorer for Portugal is exciting, and he should enjoy a long and fruitful career if he keeps improving.
Number 4: Francisco Trincao
Over the last four months of his career, Francisco Trincao has appeared to be reborn. The 21-year-old winger has a left foot wand and plays as if the ball is attached to his boot by an invisible string.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers winger has shown flashes of the talent that drew FC Barcelona to him in the first place. Trincao rose through the ranks at Sporting Braga and has represented Portugal at every age-group level, beginning with U17. The winger has already appeared alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal on several occasions.
Trincao is expected to become a key figure for Portugal in the coming years, particularly as Cristiano Ronaldo prepares to retire from his glittering career.
Number 3: Joao Felix
Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid is another possible Cristiano Ronaldo replacement for Portugal. The 22-year-old attacking sensation was a youth player for two of Portugal’s biggest clubs, FC Porto and Benfica.
The forward played his name for Benfica’s first team before moving to Atletico Madrid for a sensational €127 million fees, where he has shown flashes of brilliance. Felix, a full Portugal international, has already played for the Selecao alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, scoring three goals in 20 senior appearances.
Felix won the prestigious Golden Boy award in 2019 and has since been a member of the Portugal national team. Since making his international debut, he has been a bit-part player for Portugal, but he is expected to be one of those to step up after Cristiano Ronaldo.
Number 2: Diogo Jota
Diogo Jota has caught the eye in his appearances for Portugal and his club. The 24-year-old is already a key player for his country, having played 22 times since making his debut in 2019 and scoring eight goals.
Jota has established himself as a capable goalscorer for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool. He represented Portugal at Euro 2020, scoring once in a 4-2 group stage loss to Germany, in which Cristiano Ronaldo also scored.
As he has already demonstrated, the forward is a reliable goalscorer who can easily carry a portion of the burden of goalscoring for Portugal after Cristiano Ronaldo.
Number 1: Andre Silva
Andre Silva of RB Leipzig is another possible Cristiano Ronaldo replacement for Portugal. So far, the 26-year-old has had a journeyman’s career, but his talent has always shone through.
Silva made his international debut for Portugal in 2016, scoring his first goal in a 6-0 victory over Andorra, in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals. Silva has appeared in the FIFA Confederations Cup, FIFA World Cup, UEFA Nations League, and UEFA European Championship for Portugal.
The striker has scored 19 goals in 32 appearances for Portugal, averaging one goal every two games. Andre Silva has yet to fully replicate his recent goalscoring form for Portugal at the club level. However, if Cristiano Ronaldo decides to retire, he will undoubtedly emerge as one of Portugal’s leading men.