Valencia Striker Tops Real’s Ronaldo Replacement List

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Valencia striker Rodrigo fuelled speculation that he is the striker target for Real Madrid head coach Julen Lopetegui during Monday night’s clash with Atletico Madrid at the Mestalla.

According to talkSPORT, the former Spain national team coach identified Los Che’s hitman as the striker to replace Cristiano Ronaldo at the Bernabeu.

However, if Real want to sign the striker, Valencia will make them pay the striker’s release clause to begin talks: €120m.

Capped nine times by Spain, the 27-year-old Brazilian-born striker began his career with Real Madrid, appearing for both the ‘C’ and ‘B’ teams before moving to Bolton Wanderers in 2010-11.

His time at the Reebok Stadium was less than successful; one goal in 21 appearances saw him move to Benfica where his form improved with 45 goals in 120 games.

That led to a move to the Mestalla where his career was a slow-burner. Last season under Marcelino, Rodrigo blossomed falling just one goal short of his maiden 20-goal season.

The equaliser in Monday’s clash with Atletico Madrid increased the links with a move to his former club. Real’s shortcomings up front were exposed during the recent 4 – 2 defeat to Atletico in the European Super Cup final.

Selling Ronaldo to Juventus was a calculated move by Real president Florentino Perez; not landing a high-profile replacement means the reigning Champions League holders need several top-quality strikers. Is Rodrigo one of them?