After leading Real Madrid to Champions League glory in his debut season of management, it’s hardly surprising to see Zinedine Zidane in the shortlist for FIFA Coach of the Year.
The Frenchman took over at the Bernabeu club in January and helped them win the Europe’s elite competition as they triumphed over Atletico Madrid in the final. He also hauled them back into the title race, eventually finishing just one point behind Barcelona.
As captain of his national side, Cristiano Ronaldo has to cast a vote on who thinks deserves the coach of the year award.
But, if you think that he’s opting for his manager at Madrid, then think again.
That’s because he has revealed he will be voting for his national team manager, Fernando Santos.
Santos led Portugal to glory in Euro 2016 - with a little help from Ronaldo on the touchlines during the final against France. Incidentally, Santos was also Ronaldo’s boss at the start of his career at Sporting - so you can understand why Ronaldo is opting for him over Zidane.
Ronaldo will vote for Santos
“It’s very easy, if you ask me as captain of my national team. In my opinion, it’s more difficult to win the Euros with Portugal, which had never been done in the country’s history, than Zidane, who won the Champions League doing a fantastic job,” Ronaldo said, per Sport.
“If they were in my position, I’m sure they’d do the same.”
According to the bookmakers, Santos is currently second-favourite to win the award, while Zidane is just behind him as third-favourite so Ronaldo’s vote could be crucial.
The favourite? Well, that would be Leicester’s Claudio Ranieri who did the unthinkable and led the Foxes to Premier League glory after being 5000/1 at the start of the season.
While it’s not exactly clear what Zidane thinks of Ronaldo’s snub, there’s no doubt the Frenchman is backing his player for Ballon d’Or glory in the same ceremony. Ronaldo is heavy favourite to win his fourth accolade after winning the Champions League under Zidane and the European Champions under Santos.
Zidane on Ronaldo
Last month, Zidane claimed that Ronaldo was fully deserving of the prestigious award after an incredible calendar year.
"I know how it works, but I've seen him all year and Cristiano deserves it," he said.
"It's always the same. Cristiano has set such a high bar that whenever he is a little off form, everyone thinks there is a problem.
"In 2016 what he has done, not only at an individual level but also at the team level, has been incredible and he knows that is thanks to hard work and the people around him."