Zinedine Zidane will have been acutely aware after replacing Rafael Benitez as Real Madrid head coach in January that keeping Cristiano Ronaldo happy was one of his most important objectives.
Benitez got off to a bad start with Ronaldo after refusing to name the three-time Ballon d’Or winner as the world’s best player last summer. The Spanish coach tried to make amends by performing a U-turn in another press conference less than a week later, but the damage had already been done.
Ronaldo never saw eye-to-eye with Benitez and it was only ever going to end badly for the latter. He was sacked after seven months in the hot-seat by the trigger-happy Florentino Perez.
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So, Zidane has made a point of declaring Ronaldo as the world’s best player, even after Barcelona’s Lionel Messi won a record-breaking fifth Ballon d’Or award in January.
Whether that’s what the legendary French midfielder truly believes is unclear but that doesn’t particularly matter. What matters is that Ronaldo believes Zidane thinks he’s the best in the world. It’s all very childish but this is the reality of the situation.
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Zidane hits back at Real Madrid fans
Zidane, keen to keep Ronaldo smiling, was asked for his thoughts in his pre-match press conference on Monday - per the Mirror - after Ronaldo was jeered by home supporters after his disappointing first-half performance against Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Real Madrid failed to score their first goal until the 41st minute but ended up winning the match 7-1, with Ronaldo scoring four in 26 second-half minutes.
"There are fans who want Ronaldo to be sold? Well I don't and I'm the coach,” Zidane commented, ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League match against AS Roma at the Bernabeu.
"As far as the whistles go, they did it to me too... to everyone."
Ronaldo's goalscoring record for Real Madrid is absurd
Real Madrid fans are notoriously demanding and it is likely to sound bizarre to your average football supporter that the Bernabeu faithful would dare boo a player who has scored so many goals for their club.
In 335 appearances for Los Blancos, Ronaldo has netted a ridiculous 352 goals.
No player in Real Madrid’s history has scored more goals than the Portuguese superstar.
But he should have won more team trophies
However, it could be argued that Ronaldo has underachieved in terms of team trophies won since arriving at the Bernabeu from Manchester United in 2009.
One La Liga title in seven years is a poor return for £80 million, although Ronaldo would argue that he has done all he can on a personal level to help his club win more silverware during that time.
The 31-year-old has also won two Copa del Rey titles, the UEFA Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, but Real Madrid fans always expect - and demand - more.
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