Motta: Ronaldo & Neymar are good, but can they replace Ibra?

The midfielder is not confident that either La Liga star will offer the same leadership as the Sweden international as Paris Saint-Germain look to replace their departed talisman

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta has questioned whether Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar could offer the same leadership qualities as Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Real Madrid star Ronaldo has been linked with a move to the Ligue 1 champions for much of the past year, despite insistence from agent Jorge Mendes that he will finish his career in the Spanish capital.

Neymar, meanwhile, is a rumoured target for a number of Europe’s biggest clubs, with talks over a new contract at Camp Nou still yet to be resolved.

With Ibrahimovic having decided to leave PSG at the end of his contract, speculation over a possible bid for Ronaldo or Neymar has increased in recent weeks, but Motta is unsure whether either could fill the Sweden star’s shoes.

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“Ronaldo and Neymar are important names that make the difference on the field, but I would like to see if they know how to behave like a team leader as Ibra did,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Otherwise, the team is likely to regress.”

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has publicly backed Edinson Cavani to emerge from Ibrahimovic’s shadow and become the star forward for Laurent Blanc’s side.

And Motta has backed the Uruguay international to become a more useful team player if he moves in off the wing to become the spearhead of the attack.

“Cavani can seize the opportunity to become the next central striker,” he said. “I hope he can tune in with the team a lot better there.”

Motta, who turns 34 in August, admits that next season could be his last as a player and is keen to become a coach as soon as he retires.

“Like Ibrahimovic, I will freely assess my options,” he added. “If I keep playing well, I’ll stay with PSG or go elsewhere. Otherwise I will study to become a coach.”

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