Real Madrid Castilla manager Zinedine Zidane admits Cristiano Ronaldo’s irrepressible hunger to continually improve as a player has surprised him.
The French legend, who will replace Carlo Ancelotti at the Bernabeu next season if rumours are to be believed, backs up what many others have said about the three-time Ballon d’Or winner in the past - that his immense desire to stay at the top of his profession is like nothing they’ve ever seen before.
Zidane was speaking to UEFA just days after Ronaldo scored five goals in one match for the first time in his career, in a 9-1 win over Granada on Sunday afternoon.
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Zidane surprised by Ronaldo's desire
“It's his relentless desire to make progress that surprises me. At the same time, I'm not surprised. The great thing for me is that he always wants to make progress,” Zidane commented. “Even if Cristiano Ronaldo wins trophies and scores a lot of goals every season, his aim is always to make progress.
“He always wants to show, even in training, that he wants to win. It's incredible. That's what makes him stay at the top – it's his ambition to be the best.”
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Ronaldo wants to become the best player ever
It’s no secret that Ronaldo has always wanted to become the best player in world football - a feat that some will argue he has achieved, despite the presence of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi - but the Portuguese superstar now has his sights set on finishing his career as the best player of all time.
In order for Ronaldo to be widely regarded as the greatest footballer ever, however, one suspects the 30-year-old must at least match the number of Ballon d’Or awards won by Messi.
The Argentina international has won the prestigious individual accolade on four occasions and is the early frontrunner to win the award for a record-breaking fifth time next January.
Ronaldo, though, can put himself in the driving seat by inspiring Real Madrid to glory in either La Liga or the Champions League.
No club has ever successfully defended the Champions League in its current format - but Real Madrid have every chance of ending that hoodoo if Ronaldo is on form and firing between now and the end of the season.
Is Ronaldo too selfish?
The former Manchester United star has scored a quite ludicrous 299 goals in 287 appearances since arriving at Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, but there are some who feel the forward is so preoccupied with scoring goals himself that it can sometimes hinder the team.
Regardless, and despite some of the rumours, Real Madrid have no intention of cashing in on their prolific star man this summer - while the great Zidane could be the man handing him orders out on the pitch next season.
Where does Cristiano Ronaldo rank in the pantheon of all-time greats? Tell us by leaving a comment in the box below!