Ronaldo hails Zidane after ‘beautiful’ year

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The Portugal international has signed a new five-year deal at Santiago Bernabeu, and has praised his coach for his role in the forward’s dream 12 months.

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Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken of his “special affection” for Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane after signing a five-year contract extension with the European champions.

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The three-time Ballon d’Or winner put pen to paper on his new deal at Santiago Bernabeu on Monday, one that will take him past his 36th birthday, but he insisted it would not be his last at the club.

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Zidane’s presence could be viewed as an important factor in this, as Ronaldo was linked with a move away from the Spanish capital during the doomed tenure of his immediate predecessor Rafael Benitez.

The former Madrid and France midfielder’s appointment sparked an upturn in fortunes that ended with Ronaldo netting the winning penalty to sink rivals Atletico in May’s Champions League final.

“He is a player in the history of Real Madrid and is now the coach of the first team,” the Portugal captain told Real Madrid TV.

“I admired him as a player and now I admire him as a person and as a coach. I have a special affection.

“It was his first year [last season] and winning the Champions League was spectacular for him on a personal level, a dream realised.

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“After winning the Champions League we talked and they were special and funny moments, after winning a match with as much emotion as that final. The two of us were very excited.”

Euro 2016 glory with Portugal followed that sweet success at San Siro and Ronaldo feels the past year is unmatched in his stellar career.

“After making the most beautiful year of my career, with the Champions League, Euro and the renewal… it has been a perfect year,” he said.

“Now I want to keep winning – La Liga, the Champions League, the Club World Cup. I want to win trophies and continue at this club to win.”

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Ronaldo said earlier this week that he felt he could perform for 10 more years and he underlined his desire to close out his playing days in Madrid.

“It is a very important moment in my professional life,” he added. “Extending five years with the best club in the world is a unique moment.

“The club is in my heart and, as I said, I want to finish here. There is no better club to continue playing for.”

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