Fabio Cannavaro believes Real Madrid need Kylian Mbappe so that he can follow in Cristiano Ronaldo's footsteps, but feels it will be tough to sign the Paris Saint-Germain star.
Mbappe, 21, continues to be linked with a move to Madrid from PSG, where he has starred during the past three seasons.
Madrid have found it hard to replace Ronaldo, who decided to leave the Liga giants to join Juventus in 2018.
Cannavaro, who won two La Liga titles with Los Blancos as a player, said Mbappe could be the player the club need to follow what Ronaldo delivered.
"Real Madrid need players like Mbappe, a young star who could follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo," the Guangzhou Evergrande coach told AS.
"It's normal that Madrid want to sign him but it also has to be taken into account that PSG's owners don't need the money. They are ambitious and they want to win the Champions League.
"I think it will be difficult for Madrid to get him. The president of PSG is a person who wants to win, I know them well and they will fight tooth and nail to keep Mbappe."
Former PSG and Arsenal coach Unai Emery also thinks Mbappe should swap Parc des Princes for the Bernabeu.
The Spaniard believes the World Cup winner has the talent to create a spectacular period at Madrid, if he decided to make the move.
"Of course he has the ability to mark an era in Madrid," Emery told AS.
"Which league would I advise him to play in? When I was in France, I loved watching him play and I was happy to be able to see it first hand.
"When I went to England, I would have liked to have seen him play in the Premier League. And if I return to Spain, I hope he comes to La Liga.
"I'm sure there will be some things about being at PSG that will give him what he needs and maybe other things that won't. And perhaps Real Madrid might be able to offer him some of the things that he is lacking at PSG.
"We are lucky to have two of the best teams in the world - Real Madrid and Barcelona, and I personally would like them to continue having the best players in the world."
Mbappe has won three Ligue 1 titles, a Coupe de France and a Coupe de la Ligue with PSG.
He scored 30 goals in 33 games in all competitions this season, with the Ligue 1 campaign cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.