Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world, according to his Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.
The Frenchman, a three-time winner of FIFA’s World Player of the Year prize himself, put the Portuguese ahead of Barcelona star Lionel Messi as the greatest player on the planet in an interview with Mexican newspaper Record, as reported by Sky Sports.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is the best,” Zidane said. “People can say what they like about Cristiano Ronaldo, but in his heart he’s a good person.
“Messi is the rival and that rivalry is great for the footballing spectacle, it’s what the fans want to see.”
Zidane’s response was in great contrast to his predecessor Rafael Benítez who, asked the same question on Real’s pre-season tour of Australia during the summer, declined to name Ronaldo as the undisputed world number one.
Whether or not Ronaldo was actually offended by the comments, as has been alleged, is not clear but unfortunately for Benitez it gave the Spanish press an extra stick to hit him with.
The Spaniard proved unpopular with the Real Madrid fans and some of the players, and was eventually sacked at the start of the year after just seven months in charge.
Zidane replaced Benitez at the Bernabeu and now admits he has a greater understanding of the stress and pressure which comes with being Real coach.
“It’s always the manager’s fault if the team lose,” he added during the interview.
“But you have to accept that responsibility, with all the good and bad that comes with it.
“The main thing is getting my message across to the players. I only give them two or three instructions because they’re extremely professional. I have a sensational group of players, I’m delighted with the work they’re doing.”