Atletico Madrid identify three replacements for Matheus Cunha

Analysis: With Harry Kane out of the running, who is Real Madrid’s best option to replace Karim Benzema?

Atletico Madrid identify three replacements for Matheus Cunha

Following Karim Benzema’s decision to leave Real Madrid this summer, in order to join Saudi club Al-Ittihad, attention will turn to who will replace him as first-choice striker in Carlo Ancelotti’s squad.

It appeared that Harry Kane was Real Madrid’s preferred choice to replace Benzema, and it was easy to understand why. However, reports have now suggested that the English international will not be signed this summer, with Los Blancos unprepared to meet Tottenham Hotspur’s asking price, among other reasons.

As a result, Real Madrid will have to look at other options over the few weeks. Kai Havertz is likely to be one, with the Chelsea forward reportedly on the club’s shortlist, while Roberto Firmino has also been discussed, albeit initially as a backup option to the now-departed Benzema.

MD have now reported that former Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno, who plays for recently-relegated Leeds United and was previously on the books at Real Madrid as a youngster, is a “low-cost” option, albeit as a possible option to replace Mariano Diaz, who has also left.

Real Madrid appear to have several options to come from currently, as they continue their search for a replacement for Benzema, but presently, who is their best option?

Kai Havertz

Of the aforementioned names, Havertz is the most likely to be considered as an out-and-out Benzema replacement. However, the 23-year-old is not considered to be a natural number nine, and he was forced to play that role at Chelsea during the 2022/23 season, as they did not have a proper striker themselves.

Havertz is not a bad option for Real Madrid, as he can play as a false nine, which would allow Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo to thrive, but it is unlikely that he can be relied upon for goals, which is what would be expected of him.

Roberto Firmino

Of the names mentioned, Firmino is one of the best to replace Benzema, although whether he is of the quality to be first-choice at Real Madrid is unclear, especially since he was a fringe player at Liverpool last season.

However, he can also play a false nine role, but arguably, he would be able to chip in with more goals than Havertz. Coupled with the fact that he would be a free transfer, signing Firmino makes sense.


Joselu is another that Real Madrid should definitely consider signing, especially given the fact that he can be signed for nothing, albeit on loan. The 33-year-old had an excellent season at Espanyol, scoring 16 goals for the relegated side.

However, like Firmino, whether he is of the desired quality to be a first-choice option is debatable, although as a squad option, he would be a very good addition.


Rodrigo would be a handy utility player for Real Madrid, especially considering they are short on forward options at the moment, but compared to Firmino and Joselu, he is unlikely to be of the level needed this summer.

He did have an impressive campaign with Leeds, although it was curtailed somewhat due to injury. Still, signing him would not make too much sense, even if he is a low-cost option. Firmino and Joselu would be smarter signings, to go along with a superstar purchase, should Real Madrid be able to make one this summer.

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