Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring during extra-time of the Club World Cup football final match between Kashima Antlers of Japan and Real Madrid of Spain at Yokohama International stadium in Yokohama on December 18, 2016.
Behrouz MEHRI / AFP
Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said he gets jealous of Cristiano Ronaldo as he hailed the forward ahead of the Champions League semi-final tie against Atletico Madrid.
Zidane enjoyed a star-studded playing career, winning the World Cup and Champions League, but wishes he had enjoyed the thrill of scoring goals as many as his star attacker and namesake Ronaldo Nazario, his former Santiago Bernabeu team-mate.
The Real boss was asked how Ronaldo compared with the players he played with during his career and conceded he was envious at their goal tallies.
“As a coach, he is the best player I have had,” Zidane said of the Portugal international.
“I wasn’t able to play with him, unfortunately – but I did play against him. His statistics are amazing. “I played with the Brazilian Ronaldo, who was also an extraordinary player who scored a lot of goals. I’m jealous of them because I didn’t have those numbers.
“I got a lot of assists but I just passed the ball and didn’t have their goalscoring ability, so I never had the same feeling – that thrill of the ball hitting the net – as them.
“They are decisive players.” Zidane also spoke of his respect for opposite number Diego Simeone ahead of the first leg of the last-four tie at Santiago Bernabeu today.
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“Simeone and Mono [German] Burgos are doing a great job for their club,” said Zidane. “I know Burgos a bit – I like him and have great respect for him.