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Capello: Ronaldo has at least three years at the top

Cristiano Ronaldo has at least three years at the top, according to former Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello.

Capello dismissed claims that Ronaldo was past his best, despite the Portuguese's return of 19 goals in 23 La Liga games this season.

It is a tally well below Ronaldo's ratio of more than a goal a game since arriving in the Spanish capital seven years ago.

Ronaldo struggled in Madrid's narrow 2-1 win over Granada, but still has five goals in as many games having bagged a hat-trick and a brace against Espanyol and Sporting Gijon respectively.

The 31-year-old forward has himself admitted he will assess his options after another two years at Madrid, but Capello insisted the club's record goalscorer is far from finished.

"Cristiano Ronaldo has three more years of football, easily. He will have more experience," the Italian told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope.

"He takes care a lot of him and he can play until 34 easily. It is not easy to find a scorer like him."

And while Capello managed another Ronaldo - the Brazilian great - during one of his two stints at Madrid, the Italian admitted replacing Rafael Benitez, who was sacked by the club after just six months in January, and coaching the Portugal international was never on the cards.

Benitez was replaced by former Madrid player Zinedine Zidane last month.

"I do not know what happened in the locker room [before Benitez's departure]," he said.

"I never talked with Real Madrid to replace Rafa Benitez. Zidane has charisma, international experience and can succeed."

Zidane has made a solid start to life as Madrid coach, having lead the capital club to four wins in five games, in which time the team has scored 19 goals.