The former Blancos loanee, who played alongside the Portuguese in Spain, feels those at Santiago Bernabeu were too quick to part with a legend
Emmanuel Adebayor admits that players like Cristiano Ronaldo “come along once every 200 years”, with Real Madrid told they made a mistake in believing that a suitable replacement for the Portuguese could be found.
The Blancos bid farewell to their all-time record goalscorer in the summer of 2018, with a shock deal done with Serie A giants Juventus.
Ronaldo had starred at Santiago Bernabeu over the course of a nine-year spell, with his standing among the all-time greats secured during a stunning stint in Spain.
Real agreed to part with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner as they felt a younger successor could be found to fill the role of club talisman in Madrid.
They have found out the hard way that countering the loss of Ronaldo was always going to be an impossible task.
Zinedine Zidane has returned the Blancos to the top of La Liga, with a title triumph enjoyed in 2019-20, but Adebayor believes a side that has been inconsistent at times would have secured even more silverware had a fearsome No.7 still been on their books.
“Without Cristiano, Madrid know what they have lost, but maybe not what they could have won if he was still there,” Adebayor, who took in a loan spell at the Bernabeu in 2011, told AS.
“I think maybe they thought they would get another player like Ronaldo but players like him only come along once every 200 years.”
Karim Benzema is among those to have been charged with the task of filling Ronaldo’s boots, with the French striker having fared as well as anybody in that quest – with 56 goals recorded across the last two seasons.
“When Ronaldo left, he had to take up the responsibility and I think he’s done really well,” Adebayor said of a fellow frontman.
“He’s scored a lot of goals, important goals so he’ll be a danger [to Manchester City in the Champions League], no doubt about it.”
City are next in Benzema’s sights, as Real seek to overturn a 2-1 deficit in a heavyweight Champions League last-16 encounter, with the Blancos looking to conquer the continent for the first time since Ronaldo departed.
“Madrid would have been favourite with Cristiano,” said Adebayor.
“Back then, they had Cristiano who is a goal machine. He can make the difference at any moment and he would give the team 50 goals a season.
“They lost the first leg at home, at the Bernabeu 1-2, and it’s going to be very difficult with the fans, against Manchester City, the city, the weather… but it’s not impossible.
“Madrid have players with a lot of experience like Marcelo, Benzema, [Thibaut] Courtois and they are used to playing in big games like this one.”