Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has reiterated his view that Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s best footballer, adding his rivalry with Lionel Messi is good for the sport.
The Madrid and Barcelona stars have shared the Ballon d’Or for the last eight years and have gone toe-to-toe for a host of individual and team honours in recent years as the two best players in the world.
The pair have played down the importance of their rivalry but Zidane maintains the competition between them is a positive for the game.
“Messi the best player in the world? Cristiano Ronaldo is the best,” the former France international told Record.
“Many things are said about Cristiano, but deep in his heart he is a good person. Messi is his rival and that rivalry is good for football. That’s what people want to see.”
Ronaldo, 31, has been linked with a move to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and former club Manchester United in recent seasons but said this week he intends to see out the remaining two years of his contract.
Zidane, who retired at 34 following his infamous sending-off for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final, believes Ronaldo has a number of years remaining.
“Ronaldo can maybe play longer than me,” added Zidane, who replaced Rafael Benitez at the Santiago Bernabeu in January.
“This does not mean that I did not take care of myself, but him, he gives the impression that he takes more care of himself and it shows.
“He is 31 years old but physically he’s a monster. I think he can continue to play for several years more and I hope it will be at Real Madrid.”
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