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30 stats for Messi's 30th birthday

Barcelona
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By ESPN Staff

Zidane names Gerrard as best player in the world

Zinedine Zidane believes Steven Gerrard is the best player in the world.

The legendary former Real Madrid playmaker saw his old club dismantled by Gerrard's Liverpool on Tuesday night, when the Reds ran out 4-0 winners at Anfield, 5-0 on aggregate.

England's midfield star scored two of the goals and ahead of tomorrow's crucial trip to Old Trafford, Zidane has claimed he is a better all-round player than Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo, the current holder of the Ballon d'Or.

"Is he the best in the world? He might not get the attention of (Lionel) Messi and Ronaldo but yes, I think he just might be,'' the former France captain said.

"If you don't have a player like Steven Gerrard, who is the engine room, it can affect the whole team.

"When we were winning league titles and European Cups at Real, I always said Claude Makelele was our most important player.

"There is no way myself, (Luis) Figo or Raul would have been able to do what we did without Claude and the same goes for Liverpool and Gerrard.''

Zidane added: "He has great passing ability, can tackle and scores goals, but most importantly he gives the players around him confidence and belief.

"You can't learn that - players like him are just born with that presence.''

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