Zidane: Ronaldo is simply the best

Ronaldo is the ‘best of his generation’, according to his Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane. (AFP)
Updated 23 October 2017
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Zidane: Ronaldo is simply the best

LONDON: Cristiano Ronaldo is better than Lionel Messi. That is the view of none other than fellow all-time great Zinedine Zidane.
It is the one question to which everyone seems to have an answer, the peerless pair having dominated the past decade scoring goals and winning trophies by the bucketload.
But Zidane, who is also Ronaldo’s boss at Real Madrid, added his opinion to the thousands already out there, saying the Portuguese is the best player of his generation.
“He is the best by a long way,” the Frenchman told AFP.
Ronaldo had a stunning end to last season, scoring 10 times from the quarterfinals of the Champions League as Real won a first La Liga and European Cup double in 59 years.
However, Messi has already scored 15 times in all competitions for Barcelona this season and netted a stunning hat-trick against Ecuador earlier this month to ensure Argentina did not miss out on next year’s World Cup.
Ronaldo has failed to shine so far this campaign. He missed Real’s first four La Liga games through suspension, has managed just one goal in his past five matches and was wasteful once again in front of goal as Madrid eased past Eibar 3-0 on Sunday.
That does not bother his boss, however. “He has shown it many times. He is always there in the big games,” Zidane added.
Meanwhile Zidane also defended compatriot Karim Benzema after former England striker and TV presenter Gary Lineker described the Frenchman as “overrated.”
Lineker’s comments came as Benzema missed two huge chances as Real were held 1-1 at home by Tottenham Hotspur last week.
“He can have his opinion because he is on television a lot, but if you say to me Karim is overrated I don’t agree,” Zidane said.
“I enjoy watching him on the field.”
After Paulo Oliveira’s own goal and Marco Asensio’s strike put Madrid in command on Sunday, Benzema came off the bench to tee up Real’s third for Marcelo.
“Karim won’t score 60 goals a season, but he will score 25 or 30 and make 30-40,” Zidane said.
And that point was perfectly evidenced by Benzema’s defense splitting pass for Marcelo to fire into the far corner.
“I like players who know how to associate with their teammates,” continued Zidane.
“He didn’t score, but the move starts with him in midfield.
“It was a lovely move to see for anyone who likes football.”


Heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt as Russia all but secure last-16 spot

Updated 19 June 2018
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Heartbreak for Mohamed Salah and Egypt as Russia all but secure last-16 spot

ST. PETERSBURG: Russia scored three goals in a 15-minute span early in the second half to set up a 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday, moving the host nation to the brink of the World Cup’s knockout stage.
Mohamed Salah won and converted a penalty for a consolation goal on his return from injury but Egypt’s first World Cup in 28 years could be over in barely five days following a second straight loss.
Ahmed Fathi poked the ball into his own net — the fifth own-goal of the tournament — to put Russia ahead in the 47th minute. Then Denis Cheryshev and Artyom Dzyuba scored in quick succession to leave Russia on course for a victory that followed up a 5-0 opening-night win over Saudi Arabia.
It was Cheryshev’s third goal of the World Cup, putting him tied with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring chart.
Russia’s place in the round of 16 will be assured if Uruguay wins or draws against the Saudis on Wednesday. Those two scenarios would also eliminate Egypt, which started with a 1-0 loss to Uruguay.
The hopes of 100 million Egyptians were raised when Salah was selected in the starting lineup, the Liverpool forward making his comeback after 3 1/2 weeks out with damaged ligaments in his left shoulder after a tangle with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final.
Salah trotted out for his pre-match warmup to roars from Egypt fans, who at times appeared to outnumber their Russian counterparts. They shouted every time Salah’s face flashed up on the big screen and when his name was announced before kickoff.
Yet from the start, it was clear that Salah was staying out of anything too physical and there was no concerted effort from his Egypt teammates to pick him out each time. He didn’t touch the ball until the seventh minute.
He did win the penalty — confirmed by the video assistant referee after Salah was pulled down by Roman Zobnin. He converted it in the 73rd minute, but it wasn’t enough. Egypt is still without a victory in six World Cup matches.
Russia is nearly assured of advancing from the group stage for the first time since the Soviet era.
Cheryshev, who entered the World Cup as a fringe player, is proving lethal in front of goal, with his latest a side-footed effort from close range from Mario Fernandes’ cross in the 59th. Dzyuba’s goal was more direct, the striker chesting down a long ball from defender Ilya Kutepov, beating his marker and curling home a low finish.