Zinedine Zidane has once again heaped praise on his star man ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool in Kiev.
Questioned as to whether he would choose to have the services of his own superstar forward, or that of this weekend’s opposition, Zidane stated he’d prefer to have Cristiano Ronaldo, as he remains the best player in the world.
This weekend’s showpiece event in Kiev is largely being billed as a showdown between two of Europe’s most fearsome attacking individuals, who have each enjoyed blistering seasons in front of goal.
Salah hit 44 goals in all competitions as he was crowned PFA Player of the Year, having taken the Premier League by storm in his debut season at Anfield.
Zidane, however, has been adamant that the Egyptian’s electric exploits would not win his favour over the continued excellence of Ronaldo as the focal point and icon of his Madrid side.
“No, I have Cristiano and I talk about my players”, the legendary Frenchman replied adamantly in response to the proposition of a swap.
“Cristiano is the best, he shows it every year. Sometimes pressure gets to players and it spurs others on. He is certainly the latter. He’s of maximum importance to us.”
Ronaldo is, once again, Madrid’s leading goal scorer this term, having recorded 43 strikes for his side, putting him massively ahead of Gareth Bale, who is the club’s second top scorer of the season with 18 goals. No other Madrid player has made it into double figures for goals.
Ronaldo has also won the Ballon d’Or for the last two successive years and has a virtually incomparable record of goals in big games.
Ronaldo scored twice for his side as Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 in the Champions League final last season, as well as a strike for Los Blancos in their 2014 triumph in the competition over Atletico Madrid.
Salah’s shorter term success over the past season cannot be compared to the longevity of success which Ronaldo has enjoyed since his move to Madrid in 2009, following a hugely successful breakthrough spell at Manchester United.
Saturday’s final in Kiev may, however, provide a stronger insight into which player is performing at a greater level at this moment in time, and could largely decide which of the two favourites claims the next Ballon d’Or crown.