Former Brazil striker Ronaldo has praised Zinedine Zidane for gaining the respect of his Real Madrid players as a coach.
Ronaldo and Zidane played together at Madrid from 2002 until the latter’s retirement in 2006, the France star having joined from Juventus in 2001 and the centre-forward arriving a year later from Inter, as part of the first wave of ‘Galacticos’ under president Florentino Perez.
Zidane stepped up from his role in charge of the club’s Castilla side to take charge of the first team in January when Rafael Benitez’s tenure came to an early end.
Derby defeat to Atletico Madrid in February left their season in danger of petering out but Zidane’s men have won every Liga match since, including Clasico victory over Barcelona, to haul themselves back into the title race.
Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Manchester City secured a Champions League final spot – Madrid will face Atletico in the decider on May 28 at Milan’s San Siro, where they will attempt to secure an 11th European Cup.
And Ronaldo, who left Madrid in 2007, is delighted with the team’s progress under his former team-mate.
“It was very important to reach the final and we are all very happy. It was very important to win,” Ronaldo told Cadena COPE.
“It’s amazing what he’s doing, Zidane. He deserves it. He has the respect of the players.”
On the Champions League final, Ronaldo added: “Atletico Madrid has much merit but hopefully it can be the title of Los Blancos.”