Ronaldo gushes praise for Zinedine Zidane
CRISTIANO Ronaldo has heaped praise on Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane by insisting the Frenchman was the brains behind his side’s Champions League triumph.
Real Madrid won a record 11th European Cup in May as the Spanish giants defeated neighbours Atletico Madrid on penalties.
Sergio Ramos scored in normal time before Ronaldo netted the winning penalty at the San Siro to win the prestigious trophy for Real Madrid.
However the Portuguese superstar believes the credit should go to his manager.
Ronaldo said of the Frenchman: ‘Zidane was the key to our season.
‘He came, made us work hard, work well. He’s a great professional and a great person.
‘In my opinion, his best quality is his ability to give players a sense of calm. What coach can win the Champions League in six months?
‘Zidane deserves much credit and I am very happy he is with us.’
The 31-year-old, who has missed Real Madrid’s opening two league games, is expected to return to first-team action against Osasuna this weekend.
He sustained a knee injury in Portugal’s Euro 2016 final win over hosts France but is now back in training.
Meanwhile, Romelu Lukaku has revealed he had the chance to join Juventus during the summer transfer window but did not feel the time was right to move to Italy.
The Belgium international was hoping to leave Everton before the new season kicked off but made a dramatic U-turn by telling Ronald Koeman he wanted to stay at Goodison Park.
And Lukaku has explained the reasons behind his decision to prolong his stay on the blue half of Merseyside.
Lukaku, speaking to Het Nieuwsblad, said: ‘It stings a little [not being in European competition], but I’m someone who believes that everything happens for a reason.
‘Otherwise I would have gone to Juventus instead of staying at Everton. But I opted for Everton because it was too early for Italy and I have not done badly here.
‘Now we have a new coach and it is completely different than with Mr [Roberto] Martinez, but I think we can make progress under Ronald Koeman. It may be the last step and then look further.
‘I knew of the interest of a few clubs, it was quickly very clear that Everton would not let me go. It was important to me that I remained calm, and I did. I said to myself that I will do my best and who knows what will happen in the future.’
The 23-year-old is yet to score in three club appearances this season but has the chance to score his first Everton goal of the campaign against Sunderland next Monday.
Yaya Toure will look to sign a pre-contract agreement with another European club in January — with his agent claiming that Manchester City have lost African followers after Pep Guardiola’s decision to omit him from their Champions League squad.
The Ivorian’s future at City is over with Guardiola yet to select him even on the bench and leaving him out of their 21-man squad to compete in Europe.
Toure — four-time winner of the African Footballer of the Year award — and his representative have made the decision to consider offers from Spain, Italy and France during the January transfer window to leave on a free when his contract expires at the end of June.
Toure’s agent Dimitri Seluk told Sportsmail: ‘They will lose a lot of millions of supporters from Africa because of this decision from Guardiola.
‘Now they will support Manchester United. A lot of people in Africa say they will never see any more matches of City on TV.’
Toure turns 34 next year but is confident he has one more move to a top European club before finding a more lucrative home in China, America or the Middle East. Seluk has revealed the player has lost seven kilograms in his pursuit of fitness.— Sportsmail.