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Jan 20, 2014

Zidane: Ronaldo deserved to pip Ribery

Zinedine Zidane believes Cristiano Ronaldo deserved to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or, despite the "exceptional" season of former French international team-mate Franck Ribery.

Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo
Zinedine Zidane felt Cristiano Ronaldo was a worthy recipient of the Ballon d'Or.

• Duarte: Ronaldo's human side

Ronaldo was named the world’s best player at a gala ceremony in Zurich on Jan. 13, ahead of Lionel Messi and Ribery.

French media in particular felt Ribery, 30, was hard done by given his instrumental role in helping Bayern Munich complete a spectacular Treble last season, and contributing to their flying start to the current campaign.

Though close to the Bayern midfielder, France legend Zidane is now assistant coach at Real Madrid, and told RTL the breathtaking goalscoring exploits of Ronaldo meant critics of the outcome of the vote should keep silent.

"We're not going to cry out that it was a scandal, even if Franck undoubtedly deserved something given the season he had,” Zidane said. “The difference is certainly the 69 goals Cristiano scored. There are three criteria: what has been done with your club, what you do individually, and the player's image.

“For the next time, all of that needs to be clarified, because I think it's an individual award and it's above all what the player does on the pitch. Even if Franck has been exceptional, the other scored 69 goals."

Following the end of his playing career with the infamous headbutt during the 2006 World Cup final, Zidane has taken on a number of roles at Madrid, including ambassador and advisor to club president Florentino Perez.

However, after undertaking and successfully passing a French university course in sports management, the iconic former Madrid man now sees his future more in a tracksuit than a tie-and-suit after being made part of first-team coach Carlo Ancelotti's backroom staff last summer.

"At a given moment, there are things you miss in your life, I needed to know to commit myself in another direction. Now I've taken another direction, that's the pitch, to be in contact with the players, transmit to them what I did during my whole career,” Zidane said.

“I'm going full-blooded in that direction now, I'm learning what needs to be done and what you shouldn't do. I'll continue learning until the day I decide to take charge of a team as the number one."

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