Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag will be rueing the missed opportunity to sign Goncalo Ramos from SL Benfica in the summer, following the stunning feats of the 21-year-old on the global stage.
Indeed, Ramos, replacing Cristiano Ronaldo from the starting line-up in a bold move by Portugal head coach Fernando Santos, eclipsed expectations and eradicated any doubts over his inclusion, scoring a glorious hat-trick and assisting another as the nation thumped Switzerland 6-1.
And now the Red Devil hierarchy will cast a rueful gaze back to what could have been, with the player targeted by United and available for a meagre £25m earlier this year – a figure which is almost certainly set to balloon as interest in his services intensifies after the World Cup.
Having only earned a handful of minutes before receiving his monumental call to the starting fold, Ramos produced one of the all-time devastating offensive displays at the World Cup to announce himself with resounding success.
Against the Swiss, he recorded an astonishing Sofascore match rating of 9.8, making a further two key passes and winning four of his seven duels.
And his endeavours at club level back up the notion that this is a diamond of the highest calibre; as per Transfermarkt, Ramos has scored 14 goals and registered six assists across 21 appearances this term.
And having 3.3 shots, including 1.5 on target, per game in the domestic league is only furthering the claim that this is a young star capable of soaring to the top.
His knack for goals and prolific output offer semblance to a former Manchester United man, his compatriot Ronaldo, and Ten Hag could look to replace the 37-year-old veteran with his youthful counterpart, who is displaying all the composure and aptitude to flourish at the very forefront of the pack of prospects for years to come.
Gonçalo Ramos 🤝 Cristiano Ronaldo
— Football FanCast (@FootballFanCast) December 6, 2022
Ronaldo, one of the greatest players of all time, scored 145 goals and assisted 64 more across his two spells in Manchester, winning three league titles and the Champions League during his first stay.
While United must lament their decision not to swoop for the £20.6m-rated phenom in the summer, his performance at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar are an affirmation that this is a star in the making, one that the Red Devils must break the bank for if they are to replace Ronaldo and fire their way to triumph across the domestic and continental front.