Zinedine Zidane has dismissed suggestions Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent LaLiga goal drought has made him anxious and labelled his star striker a “genius”.
Ronaldo has netted just once in his last five league games ahead of Saturday’s trip to Alaves and cut a frustrated figure in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Zidane acknowledged the Portugal captain – who led his team to Euro 2016 glory in France – was upset at his recent troubles but laughed off claims the player was overly perturbed at his displays over the past month.
The Frenchman told reporters at his news conference: “No, I’ve seen him upset but that’s normal. He wants to score, so it’s only natural that he’s upset but I don’t think he’s worried at all.
“He’s unique, what he’s achieved is unique. He’s played so well and scored so many goals. When he doesn’t score, people start reading between the lines but he’s a genius.”
Ronaldo is the favourite to land the 2016 Ballon d’Or and Zidane backed his man to claim the award handed out by France Football.
“If you look back over the course of the year, and you look at what Cristiano has achieved, it’s impressive,” he added.
“What he’s achieved in 2016, not just on an individual basis, but for his team and his country has been magnificent.
“There’s been hard work from him but he knows there’s always hard work from his team-mates [as well].
“I was asked about this the other day and I said he deserves to win the Ballon d’Or, clearly.”
On paper, a trip to 13th-placed Alaves should pose few problems for a Madrid side unbeaten in 25 matches in all competitions, but Zidane urged caution.
He added: “We know that if we want to win something come the end of the season, we need to be fully focused and maintain concentration in each and every game.
“It’s what we’ve been doing and it will help us achieve great things.
“We can’t just turn up thinking it will be an easy game, we have to work. I think we’ve had a good week, we’ve trained well but no two games are the same.”