Updated 08:45 AM EST, Sun, Dec 04, 2016
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Why Zinedine Zidane Thinks Cristiano Ronaldo is Better Than Lionel Messi

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FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2014
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 12: FIFA Ballon d'Or nominees Lionel Messi of Argentina and FC Barcelona (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Real Madrid smile during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2014 at the Kongresshaus on January 12, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo : (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images))

Zinedine Zidane surely knows a thing or two about greatness.

The man, who is known the world over as Zizou, has defended Cristiano Ronaldo from naysayers. He believes the Portuguese striker is the best in the world, even better than five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

In a recent interview with Récord via CBS Sport, the 43-year old Real Madrid manager said underneath Ronaldo's superstar persona lies a compassionate human being.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is the best. A lot can be said about Cristiano Ronaldo, but inside of his heart he is a good person," said the former Les Bleus team captain. "Messi is his rival and that rivalry is good for soccer, it's what the people want to see."

Considering Zidane is on Florentino Perez's payroll, his comment might come off as a bit biased, but not totally off course. The names Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been synonyms with soccer excellence. Debates on who the best active soccer player is often features the La Liga rivals.

Their legendary statuses are also well-earned. The duo's latest achievement is reaching a combined point tally of 1,000 goals, which they accomplished in January. By comparison, the most recorded goals scored by an individual is 1,279, per Guinness World Records. That long-standing record belongs to Brazilian great Pelé, who played 21 years of professional soccer to reach that milestone.

Sky Sports reported that Messi has scored 433 goals for Barca and 49 goals for the Argentinian national team since he burst onto the soccer scene in 2005. Meanwhile, Ronaldo has found the back of the net 518 times throughout the course of his 14-year career.

As of the moment, Messi seems to be the more successful and less controversial of the two. As per Fox Sports, Barca is currently atop the La Liga standings with 54 points. On the other hand, Real Madrid sits at the third spot with 50 points while suffering from a slew of internal issues.

Madrid's main problem this season is the lack of scoring from Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese striker has suit up for Los Blancos 29 times but has only scored 19 goals. That's a far cry from his scoring output from the last two seasons of 48 and 31 goals.

Mirror pointed out that CR7's 19 goals this season are virtually irrelevant as they have come in blowout victories. This means Ronaldo isn't influencing matches as he should. What's worse, the Santiago Bernabeu squad would still be in 3rd place even without Ronaldo's goals.

Zidane's comforting words might be his managerial ploy to spark a fire in his star player's belly. Here's hoping Ronaldo will be able to improve his play going into the second half of the La Liga season.

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