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Ronaldo 'the best in the world', says Zidane

Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world and his dedication encourages team-mates to improve, according to Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane. 

The Portugal captain received the Ballon d'Or in 2016 and is favoured by many to retain that individual accolade this year.

By doing so, he would draw level with Lionel Messi as a five-time winner and his coach has no doubts about the elite status of the 32-year-old forward. 

In an interview with Telefoot, Zidane said of Ronaldo: "A great player, the best in the world, I am with wonderful football players and professionally also, because they always motivate [each other]. 

"He [Ronaldo] could say 'today I will relax', but he pushes others and makes them better."

Zidane has enjoyed a hugely successful reign as Madrid coach, winning LaLiga last season and the Champions League twice since succeeding Rafael Benitez in January 2016.

"Seven trophies… there's a lot of work behind [me], there's a club, a team and an extraordinary backdrop," he said of his glittering tenure.

"I prepared, I dedicated myself thoroughly to be able to say, if one day I train [the first team] 'you have to be ready'.

"I'm very happy with what I'm doing… the context is unique, I'm the coach of this team, so I really enjoy it because I know it's going to stop one day. 

"And I'm enjoying it, it's the biggest club in the world."

In the absence of the suspended Ronaldo, Madrid have drawn their last two Liga matches, at home to Valencia and Levante. 

They begin their defence of the Champions League with the visit of APOEL to the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.