Spanish media claim Cristiano Ronaldo influences Zinedine Zidane’s substitutions

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Zinedine Zidane is still getting to grips with management following his surprise appointment as Real Madrid head coach back in January.

But the Frenchman isn’t doing a bad job by any means.

Few would have predicted that Zidane would lead Los Blancos to the 2016 Champions League final, while the Spanish giants still have an outside chance of winning La Liga if Barcelona slip up against Granada this weekend.


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But is Zidane in charge - or is it actually Cristiano Ronaldo?

Catalan newspaper Sport are starting to wonder following new footage of Real Madrid’s 3-2 win over Valencia last weekend obtained by Movistar+'s El Dia Despues.

Video: Ronaldo 'influences' Zidane's substitutions

‘Cristiano Ronaldo influences Madrid coach Zidane’s substitutions,’ reads the headline - and when you see the footage, there does appear to be an element of truth to that.

Zidane was set to bring Jese on for James Rodriguez but changed his mind following an intervention from Ronaldo.

Lucas Vazquez went down around the same time and, although he recovered, he was the one who Zidane subbed off for Jese.

Zidane was also keen to send on Alvaro Arbeloa, who made his final appearance at the Bernabeu, but had to wait until Ronaldo gave the green light with 10 minutes left to play.

Ronaldo's ego is a problem for every coach

Dealing with Ronaldo’s ego is a challenge that every Real Madrid coach has had to face since the Portuguese superstar arrived at the club from Manchester United in 2009.

That Rafael Benitez never really saw eye-to-eye with Ronaldo is considered as one of the reasons why the Spanish coach only lasted seven months in the Bernabeu hot-seat.

Benitez got off to the worst possible start when he refused to name Ronaldo as the world’s best player last summer.

"To say that he is one of the best in the world I believe is sufficient," the current Newcastle United manager was quoted as saying by the Mirror. ”It is like asking my daughter if she prefers my wife or me. The father or the mother. It's not easy.”

Less than a week later, no doubt after Ronaldo made it abundantly clear that his new manager had made a grave error, Benitez suddenly changed his tune.

“Fortunately after working with him you can see how competitive he is and how keen he is to win. He has great quality and that’s what makes him the best player in the world,” Benitez was quoted as saying by Spanish newspaper AS. “I wish all the players had the same enthusiasm to compete and win. He shows this on a day by day basis and I’m delighted with him.”

Zidane hasn't made same mistakes as Benitez

Zidane has been keen to avoid making a similar mistake. Even after Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or for a record-breaking fifth time in January, the rookie coach insisted Ronaldo was still the best.

"Ronaldo is doing just fine," Zidane told reporters at a press conference, per Goal. "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."

Who is in charge of team affairs at Real Madrid: Zinedine Zidane or Cristiano Ronaldo? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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Zinedine Zidane
La Liga
Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo
UEFA Champions League

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