Dimitar Berbatov believes Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mason Greenwood are the players from the next generation who can emulate the ‘unbelievable’ levels of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo, who played with Berbatov at Old Trafford for one season, is still going at the age of 35, and has scored 43 Serie A goals for Juventus since signing for the club – already making him the highest Portuguese scorer in the division.
But while former Spurs and United forward Berbatov spoke highly of the astonishing levels of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, he also looked towards the future and picked out three players who could emulate the world’s-best.
‘We have Neymar, Mbappe, Greenwood, and other young players that can hopefully reach the highs of Ronaldo and Messi, as unbelievable as that may seem,’ Berbatov told Betfair.
‘No one can say Cristiano hasn’t been amazing in Italy, especially considering his age. He’s 35 now, oh my God, most players have dropped a level by now, what he’s still doing is unbelievable.
‘It will be one of the saddest days in world football when Ronaldo finishes playing, even those who dislike him will appreciate him. The day will come, but hopefully not for some time yet.
‘When he’s finished, other players will come, even Pele and Maradona were eventually replaced – life is a circle.
‘Real Madrid haven’t been the same since he left. He was a huge part of the team. He scored so many goals it’s scary, he won so many trophies, and when he left, there was a big hole from his absence.
‘Madrid will move forward, and they already have done, but he’s definitely still being missed over there.
‘If, and when Messi leaves Barcelona, how do you fill that gap? They have to move forward, but in a different way.’
While PSG pair Neymar and Mbappe have been star players for club and country for a number of years now, the recent emergence of 18-year-old Manchester United striker Greenwood has indeed been hugely impressive.
He scored three goals last week including a brace against Bournemouth on Saturday, with his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying he was the ‘best finisher he’s ever worked with.’