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Graphic: Real Madrid’s strongest line-up, excluding Karim Benzema

Real Madrid could use Cristiano Ronaldo instead of Arsenal-linked Karim Benzema as the team’s new centre-forward.

Real Madrid have been fairly quiet this summer on the transfer front, but that hasn’t stopped a number of questions being posed about their best starting XI for the upcoming campaign.

The two main players in question are Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and French international striker Karim Benzema, and both for rather contrasting reasons.

Firstly, the future of Benzema has been thrown into doubt following intense reports of Arsenal interest, the Spanish publication AS claiming this morning that the Gunners see him as their ideal summer signing.

The report goes on to say that the Gunners have £45 million in reserve for the striker, a substantial amount of money which could see the La Liga giants willing to strike a deal.

Furthermore, Benzema’s future at the Santiago Bernabeu has been largely questioned due to the potential switch in positions regarding his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese superstar may well have posted his best ever scoring campaign last season, though he no longer possesses attributes suited to a player coming in off the flanks.

Fans and observers alike will always remember the runs from deep, powerful long range efforts and dazzling step-overs to fool defenders, yet this is no longer the 30-year-old’s style of play.

Ronaldo has gradually become a devastating goal scorer, capable of short bursts into the box, abnormally good heading ability and such quick reactions in small spaces – ideal for a centre-forward.

Boss Rafa Benitez is said to be pondering the idea of placing the former United star in Benzema’s centre-forward spot, freeing space below for Gareth Bale, Isco and James Rodriguez to provide the creativity.

The rest of the team almost picks itself, with Asier Illarramendi, Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane and Fabio Conetrao providing solid alternatives should injuries, suspension or loss of form occur.

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