Ronaldo: Zidane made me feel special

The Juventus star discussed his relationship with his former head coach at Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo said Zinedine Zidane made him feel special at Real Madrid as he hailed the legendary French midfielder’s coaching skills.

Ronaldo left Madrid ahead of the 2018-19 season, joining Juventus in a blockbuster deal after three consecutive Champions League titles under Zidane’s leadership.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner enjoyed great success during his time with Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu, also winning La Liga in 2016-17. And Ronaldo heaped praise on Zidane – who is in his second stint in charge of Madrid – as he discussed the pair’s relationship.

“The confidence that a player needs doesn’t only come from himself but also from the players around him and the coach,” Ronaldo told DAZN.

“You need to feel like you are an important part of the group and Zidane made me feel special. He helped me a lot. I already had a lot of respect for him but working with him made me admire him more.

“That’s because of what he’s like as a person, how he talks, how he led the team and how he treated me. He’d tell me, ‘Cris, relax and just play your game – you are the one who is going to make the difference.’ He was always honest with me and that’s why I’ll always have a real affection for him.”

Zidane returned to Real Madrid in March after departing following the 2018 Champions League final victory over Liverpool.

He had been replaced by Julen Lopetegui, who lasted just a matter of months before being replaced himself by Santiago Solari. However, Solari didn’t fare much better as his tenure lasted just months as well before the club opted to move on to its third manager of the campaign.

Following Real Madrid’s shock Champions League elimination to Ajax and with the club sputtering in La Liga, the Spanish giants turned to Zidane once again as the Frenchman signed a new deal that will keep him at the club through 2022.

Ronaldo scored 21 Serie A goals in his first season with Italian champions Juventus, who won their eighth successive Scudetto. Juventus are set to open their Serie A campaign against Parma on August 24 while Real Madrid’s La Liga season begins this Saturday with a visit to Celta Vigo.