Rafael Benitez made the critical mistake of getting off on the wrong foot with Cristiano Ronaldo by refusing to name him as the best player in the world.
Zinedine Zidane, knowing how upset Ronaldo can get when described as anything but the greatest, did not make the same error in his press conference today.
The new Real Madrid head coach told reporters that, in his mind, Ronaldo is “still the best in the world”. Surprise, surprise.
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Asked about Ronaldo, following Lionel Messi’s victory at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich last Monday, Zidane was quoted by Goal as saying: "Ronaldo is doing just fine. He has my full support. I am very satisfied with him. Ronaldo is still the best in the world for me.
"He is a decisive player. There is always a lot of talk about him, but I am happy with him."
Ronaldo is becoming less influential
Zidane angered Ronaldo back in 2013 after voicing his opinion that Franck Ribery deserved to win the Ballon d’Or ahead of the Portuguese star. He has clearly learnt his lesson since.
There’s no denying Ronaldo is still a world-class player - obviously one of the best on the planet - and 25 goals in as many matches is evidence of that being the case.
But there’s no doubt that the three-time Ballon d’Or winner, who turns 31 in just over two weeks’ time, is slowing down and beginning to become less influential during matches - particularly the biggest matches.
Messi is obviously the world's best player
Messi, meanwhile, is showing no signs of slowing down at the age of 28 and thoroughly deserved to win the Ballon d’Or for a record-breaking fifth time earlier this week.
Can it still be argued that Ronaldo is the world’s best player? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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