‘Ronaldo is the perfect machine, he’s the best ever’

Rarely a day goes by without the Portugal star being compared to the game’s greats of past and present and he has now won high praise from another of his compatriots

Valencia boss Nuno has labelled Cristiano Ronaldo “the perfect machine” and “the best ever” as he prepares to try and keep the Real Madrid man under wraps on Sunday.

Ronaldo, 29, is the frontrunner to win the Ballon d’Or for a third time on January 12, with victory further strengthening his case to be regarded as one of the greatest players of all-time.

Nuno’s Valencia side lie in wait for the Portugal star as La Liga resumes after the winter break this weekend and the 40-year-old was wholesome in his praise of his compatriot ahead of the game.

“He’s the best in history, a perfect machine,” he said of Ronaldo. “But fear not, we are not afraid. That word does not exist in football. We think we can beat any opponent. We also have a strong dynamic at home.”

The Mestalla club have already beaten Atletico Madrid in the league this term and only narrowly lost to Barcelona 1-0 in November after wasting several chances of their own to win the game.

Nuno believes that shows his side are capable of mixing it against the very best. “We have played some very good games and one of those ended in victory. The key is how we face every game. You have to play every ball as if it were your last and fight hard. It will be a good match.”

New signing Enzo Perez, who joined the club from Benfica on Friday, could make his first appearance for the club after Nuno admitted he was toying with the idea of throwing his new recruit straight into action.

“He is a choice and he’s in the squad. He’s prepared to play and he’s under consideration. Perez is a versatile midfielder who will bring us good offensive capability. He’s very complete and will strengthen the midfield.

Valencia sit fourth in La Liga heading into Sunday’s game, eight points behind visitors and league leaders Madrid.