Monday, May 29, 2017

Ronaldo impresses Zidane in centre-forward role

SoccerNews in Serie A 9 Mar 2016

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance as a centre-forward against Roma hugely impressed Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane.

Second-half Ronaldo and James Rodriguez goals gave Madrid a 2-0 victory at Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, sending them into the Champions League last eight with a 4-0 win on aggregate. 

Regular striker Karim Benzema has been out since the derby defeat to Atletico Madrid on February 27 with a thigh injury and Zidane had used 18-year-old Borja Mayoral in a central role during the previous two La Liga matches, with the Portugal international deployed on the left.

The set-up was tweaked against Roma, though, with Ronaldo down the middle supported by Gareth Bale and James on either flank and Zidane thinks the strategy worked well due to his attacking trio’s flexibility.

“I thought that Cristiano played well,” said the former France international.

“At the start of the game he was playing centrally, but he’s capable of playing in any position. He keeps showing his best.

“I’m happy with how Gareth played out on the left, but he is also able to operate in different positions and he’s also very comfortable on the right. 

“The idea was to put him on the left, with Cristiano playing more centrally, and his crosses created danger. 

“Bale, James and he were constantly switching positions, but when we were defending, Cristiano needed to play more centrally. 

“We will see what the future brings as the three up top can play in any position. When a defender faces the same player throughout the whole game, they get a better understanding of what they are going to do. 

“They all performed well, both in defence and in attack.”

Ronaldo, who has been whistled by sections of the Bernabeu crowd in recent matches, is on impressive form having netted four goals against Celta Vigo in Madrid’s previous match and he has struck a total of 13 times in nine games.

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