In what is set to cause much debate around the footballing world, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed his belief that Cristiano Ronaldo is better than Zinedine Zidane. The comments come in the buildup to United's blockbuster Champions League clash with Real Madrid.
During a press conference, Ferguson heaped praise on the Portuguese superstar saying (via Goal.com):
Florentino Perez had all the Galacticos at Real Madrid when he was president first time around. He had Figo, Zidane, Roberto Carlos, Raul in that spell. But I don't think any of those players were as good as Ronaldo.
Zidane was a fantastic player, Figo was a fantastic player. But not as good as Ronaldo. So I think Mourinho's team are still living up to the reputation that Real Madrid can produce the top players.
Judging by the comments given by Sir Alex, one would conclude that the Manchester United manager would have no qualms welcoming Ronaldo back to Old Trafford if he so desired to return. During the press conference, Ferguson went on to discuss just what made Ronaldo what he is today—unsurprisingly, it was hard work—saying:
He would practise half-an-hour after every training session. It was a simple route to becoming a complete footballer. The more you practise the better you become, and it became a habit for him.
He's a fantastic player. I knew he would improve tremendously, he was still young when he left us.
Whilst I would call it audacious to begin to call Ronaldo better than Zidane, I would definitely say that in about two years—provided he maintains he current dominance of the game—it would only be fair that he be considered in the same realm as some of the greats.
The comments made by Ferguson are testament to the respect the Manchester United manager has for his former colleague. Whilst it is clear a good rapport still exists between Ronaldo and Ferguson, there is no denying that come matchday, Ferguson will be hoping the Madrid superstar doesn't fire on all cylinders.
So, back to the crux of the matter at hand, Ronaldo vs. Zidane; surely comparing the two would be pointless. They are both brilliant footballers in their own right. In addition, they play very different roles and both have very different styles.
The reality is: I'd take them both, any day of the week.