Of course Real miss Ronaldo, what he did at Madrid is totally crazy - Van der Vaart

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Gabriele Maltinti
The former Galacticos midfielder believes the current Real squad will eventually step up to compensate for Ronaldo’s departure

Rafael van der Vaart has backed Santiago Solari and his Real Madrid side to eventually come to terms with Cristiano Ronaldo’s summer exit.

Iconic forward Ronaldo left the Liga giants for Juventus in July having netted an incredible 450 goals in 438 appearances for Madrid during a nine-year spell at the club.

Former coach Julen Lopetegui, who was in charge when Ronaldo left the club but went on to be sacked in October, did not sign a direct replacement for the Portugal forward and instead put his faith in the existing squad of players to make up for his absence.

The likes of Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Paris Saint-Germain pair Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have all been linked with big-money moves to the Spanish capital.

Van der Vaart played alongside Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu during the 2009-10 season and, whilst he admits that a player of the former Manchester United star's calibre is virtually impossible to replace, he feels that the current Madrid squad is good enough to push forward without him under the management of Solari.

"You cannot just replace a player who scores 40 to 50 goals per season, and, of course, Real miss Ronaldo,” Van der Vaart told Goal and Spox .

“What he did at Real is totally crazy.

"The quality in the squad is still there. They don't need any winter signings. It's always difficult to find suitable players in the winter to really help a team in this class.

"The team has to grow together again to compensate for the departure of Ronaldo.

"Santiago Solari is doing a very good job, but he needs some time."

Ronaldo, 33, has not taken long to settle in Serie A, having already netted 11 goals for Max Allegri’s side.

Meanwhile, newly-appointed Madrid manager Solari, who stepped up from Real Madrid Castilla to take charge of the first team following Lopetegui’s sacking, has won eight of the nine matches he has taken charge of so far.

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Wales winger Gareth Bale was heavily tipped to step up following Ronaldo’s departure but has struggled with a number of injury issues so far this term.

Real’s latest victory, a 1-0 away win against SD Huesca, saw them climb into the top four of the table, although they still remain five points adrift of league leaders Barcelona.

Next up for Madrid is a Champions League tie with CSKA Moscow on Wednesday evening.

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