Zidane defends "unique" Ronaldo after inconsistent start
MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said there was nothing wrong with talisman Cristiano Ronaldo as the Portuguese marked his longest run without scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu with a near anonymous display in a 3-0 win over Leganes on Sunday.
A Gareth Bale double and a second half strike from Alvaro Morata sealed the win that kept Real top of La Liga but Zidane faced further questions about the form of Ronaldo, who has not scored in five home games, his longest run without a goal in front of Real's fans since joining the club in 2009.
Ronaldo's last goal at the Bernabeu came against Sporting Lisbon on Sept. 14. His only goal there in the league was against Osasuna on Sept. 10.
Ronaldo has scored seven goals in the league and Champions League this term and made amends for his worst start to a season since joining Real by hitting a hat-trick in last week's 4-2 win away to Alaves.
The 31-year-old missed a series of chances against Legia Warsaw on Wednesday, however, and failed to hit the target once against Leganes. He was also seen venting his fury at Bale for not passing to him in the second half.
"Nothing is up with Cristiano, we always want him to score and at Alaves he scored three and that's that," said Zidane.
"He always wants to score but it doesn't matter if he doesn't once in a while. I think he's playing well, working hard for the team. He obviously always wants to score, but I think he's relaxed about it."
Spanish media reports claim Ronaldo, Real's all-time top scorer, is to sign a new and improved contract until 2021 with the European champions next week.
Despite the player's current inconsistency, Zidane expressed his delight at the possibility of Ronaldo extending his stay at the club.
"I'm happy because he's the type of player who deserves to finish his career at Real Madrid," said Zidane, who saw out his playing days at the Bernabeu and was infamously sent off for France in the 2006 World Cup final in his last ever game.
"He's unique. His dream is to retire here, wearing this great white shirt, just like I did."
(Reporting by Richard Martin in Barcelona; Editing by Toby Davis)