Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo is unarguably one of the greatest footballers to play the beautiful game. By merely looking at his achievements, it is easy to see why he is regarded by many as the best ever to kick a football. Ronaldo is also the highest goalscorer ever in men's international football.
The 36-year-old has had a glittering career for club and country over the last two decades. A Portugal great, Cristiano Ronaldo helped transform the team from a struggling nation in European football to heavyweights.
Cristiano Ronaldo has led Portugal to multiple trophies in recent years
He captained Portugal to glory in the European Championship in 2016 and in the inaugural UEFA Nations League in 2019. Such a player is simply irreplaceable.
For all of his country's reliance on him, Cristiano Ronaldo always delivers for Portugal when he is needed. Now aged 36, thoughts have begun to turn toward the inevitability of his retirement despite his invincibility.
On that note, here is a list of five players who can help Portugal in a similar way to Cristiano Ronaldo after he calls time on his career:
#5 Rafael Leao
AC Milan forward Rafael Leao is one of the most talented youngsters to emerge from Portugal in recent years. The 22-year-old came up through the youth set-up at Sporting Lisbon like Cristiano Ronaldo and has represented Portugal in every age group.
The youngster made a name for himself in Ligue 1 with Lille before moving to Italian giants AC Milan after just one season. Leao has played only three times for Portugal, making his debut as a halftime substitute for Cristiano Ronaldo in a 3-0 friendly win over Qatar.
The promising youngster is a potential source of goals for Portugal, and he surely has a long and successful career ahead of him if he can maintain his current trajectory.
#4 Francisco Trincao
Francisco Trincao has looked like a man reborn over the past four months of his career. The 21-year-old winger possesses a wand of a left foot and plays as though the ball was attached to his boot by an invisible string.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers winger has shown glimpses of his ability that made FC Barcelona sign him in the first place. Trincao rose through the ranks at Sporting Braga, and has played for every Portugal age group team from U17 level. The winger has played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal on a number of occasions already.
Trincao is expected to become a central figure for Portugal in the coming years, especially as Cristiano Ronaldo prepares to draw the curtain on his glamorous career.