Cristiano Ronaldo hailed Zinedine Zidane’s role in Real Madrid’s resurgence after the 6-0 win over Espanyol, taking a swipe at former head coach Rafa Benitez, with the Portuguese attacker criticising the Spaniard’s methods in pre-season.
After a mixed time under Benitez, Madrid have collected 10 points from four games since Zidane replaced Rafael Benitez at the helm, netting an impressive 17 goals in the process.
They proved much too strong for Espanyol on Sunday and Ronaldo – who scored a hat-trick to take his La Liga tally in 2015-16 to 19 goals – was quick to underline his coach’s role in their good run of form, contrasting with the now departed Spaniard.
“We needed to work harder. Me and the whole team. Now we have a positive mentality,” the Portugal captain said.
“The pre-season was not good, there were a lot of trips. Zizou arrived with a different idea and we have to keep working this way.”
“Against Espanyol we played well and we won. The team relaxed a little with the scoreline in our favour, but we felt good.
“Against Betis, it was a very intense clash. Today we lowered our rhythm, but we played well.”
Ronaldo also spoke of his belief that the team have enough to compete with title rivals Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, hinting that the side can overtake the league leaders come the end of the season
“We don’t need to think about Barcelona or Atleti,” the Madrid forward added.
“They are playing well. We have to work harder because there is a long way to go. We are a little behind but we’ll see at the end.”
“We will see what happens when they arrive. There are no easy rivals. I don’t believe in easy games.”
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