Madrid - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane backed Cristiano
Ronaldo's case for a fourth Ballon d'Or on Friday despite the Portuguese
superstar's current struggles in front of goal.
Ronaldo won both the Champions League with Real and
Portugal's first ever major tournament at Euro 2016 to make him the favourite
to land the award for the world's best player on January 9 next year.
"He clearly deserves the Ballon d'Or," said Zidane
ahead of Saturday's trip to Alaves in La Liga.
"Not just at an individual level, but above all on a
collective level...he knows everything he is achieving is thanks to his hard
work and the work of those around him."
Ronaldo is expected to face competition from five-time
winner Lionel Messi, Madrid teammate Gareth Bale and Atletico Madrid and France
forward Antoine Griezmann for the award.
Also read: Ronaldo, Bale on Ballon d'Or shortlist
However, his form has slumped since his return from a
two-month injury layoff after suffering knee ligament damage in the Euro 2016
"What Cristiano has done is raise the bar so high that
every time he doesn't score it is a problem," added Zidane.
Ronaldo has netted just four times in nine appearances for
Madrid so far this season, by a distance his worst return at this stage of the
campaign in seven seasons with the European champions.
"He is angry (about not scoring), but there is no
bigger worry than that," continued Zidane.
"Every time he doesn't score there is a furore, but he
has to live with these things. He is a phenom."
Ronaldo is expected to be partnered by Bale and Karim
Benzema once more in the Madrid front line despite the fine form of Alvaro
The Spanish international came off the bench to score the
winner against Athletic Bilbao last weekend and bagged a double in a 7-1 rout
of Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
However, captain Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Casemiro
remain out injured.For
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