Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane said that Cristiano Ronaldo has ended the Ballon d'Or debate by banging in a hat-trick last night in the Madrid derby. The ex-French World Cup winner, Zidane, who himself won the Ballon d’Or, has said that Ronaldo deserves to win the famed prize this year.
The Portuguese star scored his 39th career hat-trick for Real Madrid last night against Atletico at the Estadio Vincente Calderon in an exceptional performance. The win gave Real Madrid a four-point cushion over rivals Barcelona who drew 0-0 to Malaga earlier in the day, and Madrid also extended their lead over city rivals Atletico to nine points.
Zidane says Ronaldo is the best
The Madrid manager further stated that Ronaldo is destined to win the Ballon d’Or for the fourth time after winning it thrice already in 2008, 2013 and 2014, “I've never had any doubts that Cristiano is the best. Tonight ends that debate, the Ballon d'Or will be for him.”
He further went ahead to suggest that it wasn’t just the hat-trick that made him think so, “I had no doubt, and it is not the three goals he scored that will make me change my mind.
“He demonstrated it all last season, he demonstrates it every time. We expect a lot from him, but he is above everyone else,” said Zidane.
Real Madrid were without their best midfielders, namely Casemiro and Toni Kroos for the game, but Isco and Mateo Kovacic stepped up to perform admirably. The side have extended their unbeaten run in La Liga to 29 games with the win over Atletico and Zidane believes they were dominant throughout, “We managed the game well and we started strong,” said the former Madrid midfielder
Happy with my team, says Zidane
“I'm happy with the way we played. Few teams are capable of coming here and winning 3-0. We put the necessary intensity against a difficult opponent who always complicates the task on his ground.” he added.
Ronaldo’s hat-trick took him past Alfredo Di Stefano’s 17 goal record in Madrid derbies while Atletico boss Diego Simeone was left ruining his side’s performance, “In the first half they were better and we were better in the first 20 minutes of the second half,” the Atletico boss said.
”We were fine up to the penalty, from there it was all uphill. It hit our hopes of coming back,” said the Atletico Madrid manager.
He particularly praised Real’s high press and intensity, ”They didn't change their system much, but they played and pressed well.
When he was questioned about how it felt to lose the Madrid derby at home, he replied, “Yes, just like any other game we play here until the end at the Calderon.”
“We have to take it (defeat) calmly, we have to find solutions and help our players to progress, so that we can play throughout the match at the level of those 20 minutes.”
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