Claude Makelele.

Claude Makelele names the best player he ever played with

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Claude Makelele played alongside some of football's greatest ever players during his 20-year career.

At Real Madrid, from 2000-2003, he had the honour of calling Zinedine Zidane, Brazilian Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Raul 'teammates'.

Then, throughout his stint at Chelsea, Makelele partnered Frank Lampard in midfield, played in behind Didier Drogba and in front of John Terry.


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When it came to picking the best player he ever played with in a recent interview with UEFA, then, his answer seemed all too predictable.

Yet that's far from the case.

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As it turns out, Makelele ranks former Real teammate Ivan Helguera as the best player he's lined up alongside - but only after saying he couldn't pick Zidane.

He said, per UEFA's official website: "I'm not going to say Zidane, because he's my friend and I'm always talking about him!

"I'm going to say Ivan Helguera, who played in midfield with me at Madrid. We had a great chemistry; we'd train together, we'd eat together. He knew where I'd move on the pitch, I'd know when he was going to push up and try and score.

"We didn't even need to talk, just a look was enough to know what the other was going to do."


Makelele and Helguera forged a solid midfield partnership during their time at the Bernabeu, helping Real along to La Liga triumphs in 2001 and 2003 as well as the Champions League in 2002.

Clearly, Helguera thought the very same of his French counterpart after claiming he was nigh impossible to replace when David Beckham arrived in 2003.

"What Makelele did for us he (Beckham) won't manage, as much as people might insist on saying," he said. "He is not as defensive as Makelele."

Real Madrid's French Claude Makelele (L)

Makelele was also asked to compare Zidane with the Brazilian Ronaldo, to which he replied: "You can't compare the two!

"They play different positions - they had different leadership qualities. I trained a lot with both Zidane and Ronaldo, and sometimes I'd stay back after training with Zidane to practise one-on-ones.

"I know why he wanted to do this, because he wanted to work on his qualities as a dribbler, his movement, because he'd spend every game getting kicked by his markers and he wanted to train like that too.

"But you just can't compare him and Ronaldo: they're both geniuses and both changed world football, but in different ways."

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Zinedine Zidane
Claude Makelele
La Liga
Real Madrid
Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
UEFA Champions League
Didier Drogba

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