Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world ahead of Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo has been criticised for his form so far this season amid suggestions he is now past his best and then had to watch Messi win the Ballon d’Or in January.
But the 31-year-old has received the backing of his coach, who believes the individual rivalry between the pair is healthy.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is the best,” Zidane told Mexican outlet Record. “Messi is his rival and the rivalry is good for football.”
Zidane has enjoyed a good start to life in charge of Madrid after replacing Benitez as Madrid boss at the start of January.
The Frenchman resisted spending in the January transfer window despite the possibility of a ban on buying players looming over the club, but he is convinced he has enough quality in the squad to compete.
“I have a sensational group, I am very happy with the players and what they are doing,” Zidane added.
“80% to 90% of the game is in the mental strength. If you are focused, it is the most important thing.
“Playing for Real Madrid is a dream, we are lucky to be here.”
Download our mobile app today.