Amidst growing rumours of Real Madrid chasing James Rodriguez, it looks like Real Madrid have begun the search for a replacement for their star player Cristiano Ronaldo.

In the recent weeks, Real Madrid have completed the signing of German midfielder Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich, and reports from Spain indicate they are very close to completing a deal to transfer Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas from Levante as well. With a midfielder and a goalkeeperai??i??s transfer wrapped up, rumours have now surfaced that the Madrid giants are chasing Colombian international James Rodriguez. The Monaco youngster was simmering with talent and popped up on the radar of major football clubs across the world with a spectacular performance for his country in the recently concluded World Cup. The 23-year-old who scored 6 goals in the tournament to win the Golden Boot is widely regarded as one of the best young talents currently in international football. Now it seems that Real Madrid are closing in on an estimated $100 million deal to bring him from Ligue 1 to the bigger stage of La Liga.

As of now, Rodriguez does not fit into the starting lineup at the Bernabeu. Recent signing Toni Kroos is widely expected to start alongside Luka Modric in midfield, while Gareth Bale will start on the right wing and Cristiano Ronaldo on the left. Ronaldo, who turned 29 this February, is arguably over the peak according to the widely accepted age of 28 years when footballers peak. That is not to say that the Portuguese attacker has shown any perceptible drop in quality. He was still the top scorer in La Liga last year and all signs point to him continuing in the same vein for Real Madrid for at least the next two to three seasons.

However, age is catching up and time waits for no one. Ronaldo faced multiple injuries in the season and at one point of time his participation in the World Cup for Portugal had also come under doubt. As age progresses, Ronaldo will lose pace, which is the most important asset of a player who plays on the flanks. A wingerai??i??s game depends on being able to outrun opposition full backs on the flanks. As Ronaldo slows down, he will probably move into a more central role, most likely as a forward and be replaced by one of the younger guns. Arguably Isco can take up the mantle put down by Ronaldo at that time but the 22 year old Spaniard is as yet an unproven entity.

Rodriguez on the other hand has done well for club and country in the last year and a half and should be in peak condition in the next couple of years. Combined with his speed and dribbling ability he would be a near perfect replacement for his senior colleague. Also, if Rodriguez does sign for Real Madrid, the Spanish giants may finally go over from their long standing 4-3-3 formation to the more contemporary 4-2-3-1.

Real Madrid has obviously jumped to sign a promising young star before his price goes up any further. It is doubtful that Ronaldo would be able to hold down a regular starting position for at least the next couple of years. James Rodriguez, however, would not be complaining too much as he gets to be a part of one of the biggest clubs in world football and will also get to learn from one of the all-time greats of the game as he shadows Ronaldo before finally taking over from him when Ronaldoai??i??s time at the Bernabeu is up. For now though, Rodriguez would be an astute signing as both club and player stand to gain mutually in the medium to long term future while CR7 marches on down the left flank for the Madridistas.

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