Zidane hails Ronaldo ahead of UCL final

UEFA Champions League

The Portuguese forward, who has recently spoken out about his disappointment over the verbal abuse he is occasionally subjected to by the club's notoriously demanding fans, will no doubt be buoyed by the strong words of encouragement from a man who is not only his coach, but also regarded as one of the finest players of his generation.

Asked who, between himself and Ronaldo, is the bigger star on the European stage, 'Zizou' had no hesitation in talking up the remarkable contributions of the competition's all-time top scorer.

"Ronaldo no doubt," he responded to reporters. "Because he scores goals and that's most important.

"I used to play very well but scoring was not my speciality, I have scored some important goals but not many," he said, no doubt referring to his spectacular winner scored in the 2002 final against Bayern Munich.

Zidane went on to echo the sentiment expressed by Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon, commenting that Ronaldo is an inspiration on and off the pitch.

"He's a good person because he worries about the others," he said. "But what I would like to insist on, what's important is what he does professionally.

"As many people say, he always wants more even if he's playing in a training session he wants to win.

"He's got something inside that he's a born leader."

Ronaldo and Buffon face off in the Champions League final tonight, a battle that many believe will also settle the matter of who wins the coveted Ballon d'Or trophy this season.