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Cristiano Ronaldo can only be replaced by Lionel Messi says Frank Lampard
Published : 21 Aug 2009 09:54:40
United have made a less than impressive start to the season, having scraped to a 1-0 win against Birmingham in their opening match and suffered a shock defeat to newly promoted Burnley in midweek. And Lampard believes that despite United's struggles being a boost for Chelsea's chances of getting a head start in the league, Sir Alex Ferguson will only find the talent to replace Ronaldo in Barcelona striker Messi. Related ArticlesOwen already under pressureWigan v Man United previewUnited's big month of fixturesThe Bung: Ronaldo's ego boostHow to end United's droughtSport on television"It is very difficult to replace Ronaldo," the 28-year-old England international said. "I saw Alex Ferguson say that himself and I don't think he will look to replace him. He will look to make the team strong as a whole by not having him. That is the only thing they can do. "The amount of times I flicked on the telly and saw Ronaldo had scored and they had won one or two-nil. Messi is probably the only player you could replace Ronaldo with. "That is probably one of our big pluses this year we didn't lose our big players." For a number of seasons Ronaldo had been United's first-choice penalty taker another void left behind according to Lampard who is sure that had the Portuguese international been around to take the club's spot kick in place of Michael Carrick against Burnley on Wednesday night, the final result would have been different. "Missing the penalty is only psychological in the fact they lost the game by not scoring it," Lampard said. "Of course Ronaldo would have taken it and probably would have scored it. "Michael Carrick is a good penalty taker these things happen and as for it being a psychological blow there is still a long, long way to go but it has given us a little edge at the moment." Reflecting on the potential impact Ronaldo's transfer could have on this season's title race, Lampard added: "The league is probably closer now, which has been a bit of a natural thing over the past few years. "In United's case, you don't want to draw the promoted teams so early in the season. They come out of the blocks to try and get some points. It [the defeat to Burnley] wasn't completely unexpected. I thought it might be a difficult game for them." With Liverpool and Aston Villa also dropping points in their opening fixtures, Lampard concluded by saying: "We have now got a little bit of a lead over them and Liverpool. It is nice to get your noses in front."