Zinedine Zidane Comments on Cristiano Ronaldo's Work Rate

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2016

Real Madrid's new French coach Zinedine Zidane (L) and Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo take part in a training session at the Valdebebas training ground in Madrid on January 8, 2016.   AFP PHOTO / GERARD JULIEN / AFP / GERARD JULIEN        (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has said he has worked Cristiano Ronaldo harder since he took the helm at the Santiago Bernabeu, but he defended the Portugal icon's ability and goalscoring prowess. 

Sport quoted the Los Blancos coach discussing Ronaldo and his team-mates ahead of the clash with Espanyol in La Liga on Sunday, following Real's draw against Real Betis last week.

"He [Ronaldo] hasn’t lost his goalscoring capability,” the Frenchman said. “He has not lost anything, he’s fine and he’s working well—like everyone is. He just needed to work a little bit more.”

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) gives a bib to Real Madrid's new French coach Zinedine Zidane during his first training session as coach of Real Madrid at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, on the outskirts of Madrid, on

Outgoing manager Rafael Benitez failed to get the best out of Ronaldo and Co. during his short tenure in the Spanish capital, and it was evident Real struggled to deal with the former Liverpool boss' tactics.

Benitez's defensive nature grated against the natural instinct of Madrid's forwards to attack, with Ronaldo certainly not famous for his tracking back. 

Despite a dip in form, Ronaldo has scored 27 goals in 27 games, according to Sport, and has watched on as Gareth Bale has upped his game in recent weeks, taking plaudits from fans and pundits. 

Zidane has already proved himself to be a progressive coach in his short spell in charge, and if he can improve Ronaldo's overall fitness and work rate, he will reap the benefits with a glut of goals and match-winning performances.