Cristiano Ronaldo 'scores goals, and always will' - Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane praised Cristiano Ronaldo's "unique ambition" after the Galactico's latest four-goal haul in Sunday's 6-3 La Liga win at home to Girona.
After having scored just one domestic league goal by mid-November, Ronaldo's acceleration through the second half of the season has seen him reach 22 in La Liga, just three behind Barcelona's Lionel Messi in the race for the "Pichichi" top scorer prize.
"[Ronaldo] is very important for us," Zidane said. "He transmits a very important, very positive energy for the rest of the group.
"On a personal level he has 22 goals, three behind Messi, so I hope [that goes well] for him, as when he is good, the team is good.
"He knows himself very well, knows when he must rest a bit, and when the end of the season arrives he is always very good. He scores goals, and always will.
"His ambition is tremendous, in every training game, every play, which makes him different from everyone else."
The former Galactico was also keen to point out that his whole team had also played well, including wingers Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez who again impressed.
"Now Cristiano is an important player in our team, but the others help him too," Zidane said. "In the play with Karim, the goal he gives Lucas.
"Today we scored spectacular goals, and it is due to all the players, the whole team. Marco [Asensio] and Lucas are playing lately as they deserve it. We have played very well with other players too. I value the work of each of them."
Bale was again restricted to a late substitute role, but Zidane rejected the idea he needed to "recover" the €101 million man for his side.
"Bale is recovered," he responded shortly. "He scored today."
Madrid remain in third place in the La Liga table, 15 points behind leaders Barcelona, but are now within four of second placed Atletico Madrid, after Diego Simeone's side lost 2-1 at Villarreal earlier on Sunday.
"We want to keep going, and with the defeat of Atletico Madrid we want to try and reach second place," Zidane said.
"In the last four or five home games we have scored four, five, six goals. We missed that a lot at the start of the season.
"We are in a good moment now, positive for everyone. Now we will try and keep on this line."
Zidane said he hoped his team did not now lose momentum during the international break, with his side travelling to Las Palmas on their return to La Liga action, just three days before their Champions League quarterfinal first leg at Juventus.
"Now there is the international break -- 19 of 24 players go with their countries," he said. "On the return we have one away game, then we play Juventus.
"It is a good moment of the season, but we must fix some details. Today we are happy with the six goals scored, and the victory, but not with conceding three goals at set-pieces."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan