MADRID: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insisted Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win FIFA's 'The Best' award for 2017 despite his faltering La Liga form so far this season.
Ronaldo missed Real's first four La Liga games through suspension, but has managed just one goal in the last five and was wasteful once more in front of goal as Madrid eased past Eibar 3-0 on Sunday.
"He is the best by a long way," said Zidane when asked if Ronaldo was the best player of his generation.
The Portuguese is expected to edge out Barcelona rival Lionel Messi to the award thanks to his stunning end to last season.
Ronaldo scored 10 times from the quarter-finals of the Champions League on as Real won a first La Liga and European Cup double in 59 years.
However, Messi has already scored 15 times in all competitions for Barca this season and netted a stunning hat- trick to ensure Argentina didn't miss out on next year's World Cup against Ecuador earlier this month.
Zidane also defended compatriot Karim Benzema after former England striker and TV presenter Gary Lineker described the Frenchman "overrated."
Lineker's comments came as Benzema missed two huge chances as Real were held 1-1 at home by Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday.
"He can have his opinion because he is on television a lot, but if you say to me Karim is overrated I don't agree," said Zidane.
After Paulo Oliveira's own goal and Marco Asens...