Former Crystal Palace midfielder John Salako believes Manchester United's latest signing, Wilfried Zaha, could be the man to emulate Cristiano Ronaldo.

Sir Alex Ferguson wrapped up a £15m deal to bring Zaha to Old Trafford from Crystal Palace, but the England international will return to Palace on loan until the end of the season.

And Salako admits that Zaha could be the man to fill the void left by Ronaldo, stating his belief that Ferguson has so far failed to replace the Real Madrid forward.

"Manchester United never really replaced Cristiano Ronaldo and I really do think Wilfried Zaha's got that kind of ability," he told

"If he can match half of Ronaldo's dedication, drive, focus and desire to be the best player in the world, he'll have a chance. 

"Certainly working under Sir Alex (Ferguson) in that environment at Man United, he couldn't go anywhere better. I just think he's going to be an absolute star there.

"The lad's got everything. He's strong, quick and got so much ability, but he needs to learn the game - at the moment he's still quite raw."

Zaha has impressed enough this season that he earned an England call-up with an appearance against Sweden in November, and Salako feels that Zaha needs to concentrate on putting all his effort into matches.

"He's not a kid, he's 20, he's played nearly 100 games so he's going to have to really mature now and take this on board because I think he's going to have to work hard," he said.

"It's going to be about his mentality and desire and really what he wants for himself because he's going to have every opportunity going into a club like Man United.

"The lads do get carried away. They think it's all about being at a big club and wearing the tracksuit and you've made it, but you haven't.

"A lot of these kids should perhaps stay at smaller clubs and build their careers, but I'm glad that Wilfried's dreams are finally coming true and Palace get a decent fee."


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