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Zidane hails decisive Ronaldo

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane lauded superstar Cristiano Ronaldo after his side's 2-0 win over Roma in the Champions League.

Ronaldo opened the scoring with a deflected effort before Jese Rodriguez sealed an important victory for Madrid in the first leg of the last-16 tie at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Portugal captain's form, particularly away from home, had been questioned in the lead up to Wednesday's outing, and his response pleased Zidane.

"We talked and I am happy with his goal because everyone always expects him to score and that's exactly what he did. I am happy for him and for the team," he said.

"I have to congratulate everyone on the effort they put in. The first half was difficult and we improved a lot in the second half."

The victory leaves Madrid well-placed to reach the Champions League quarter-finals, with the return leg to be played on March 8.

Zidane praised his squad as a whole but said Ronaldo had been decisive in Rome.

"For me, the most important thing is the group. There'll always be one man who makes the difference, and today that was Cristiano Ronaldo," the Frenchman said.

"But when I see the players who didn't play really urging the team on from the dugout, for me that's vital."