Cardiff City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Wilfried Zaha can become just as good as Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Zaha, on loan at Cardiff from Manchester United, inspired a comeback by his new club, setting up a goal in their 2-1 win over Norwich in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Solskjaer said Zaha had all the skills to become the world’s best but only if the 21-year-old has the same desire as former United star and Real Madrid attacker Ronaldo.
“He is one of the best I have seen with the ball. He has quick feet and is brave like Cristiano and wants to go forward,” Solskjaer said.
“But he has got to make a ¬decision about how good does he want to be and how much does he love this game. He can grow up to become a proper player like Ronaldo if he wants.
“I have never seen anyone work as hard as Ronaldo. Before training, after training, he was an exceptionally dedicated man and proved to everyone what ¬dedication gets you.”
Solskjaer, who played with Ronaldo at Manchester United, said he was unfazed about comparing Zaha, who has failed to live up to his £15million price tag, to the Portuguese striker and wants the former Crystal Palace winger to strive to be the best.
“I am not afraid of using Sir Alex Ferguson or Cristiano as an example when I have to because to get the best out of your talent you need to be dedicated,” Solskjaer said.
“It’s a desire and attitude from within. It’s what you’ve got in your heart and Cristiano’s always had it.”
Zaha was introduced late in the first half against Norwich and can expect much more game time than he was getting under David Moyes at United.
Solskjaer gave an insight into how he treats his players and said he was looking forward to working with Zaha.
“Everyone needs to be loved. It’s like with your kids. You love them but you also have to tell them straight. It’s the same with players,” the Norwegian manager said.
“He came on and made an impact, he lifted everyone and just wants to play football.
“That’s something he will get loads of here. I’m really looking forward to working with him.”