Zidane: Be careful when you criticise Ronaldo

Zinedine Zidane says people should think twice before expecting Cristiano Ronaldo to struggle under the pressure of a big match.

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo   -  Getty Images

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has warned critics of Cristiano Ronaldo to expect the forward to impress in the Champions League final.

The competition's all-time leading goalscorer, Ronaldo has scored 15 times in just 12 appearances in this season's tournament to help his side reach a third final in a row, although he did fail to find the net in the last-four win over Bayern Munich.

The 33-year-old headed in Madrid's second goal in Saturday's draw with Villarreal on his return from an ankle injury, though, and Zidane insists it would be unwise to expect the Portuguese to struggle under the pressure of facing Liverpool in Kiev.

He also dismissed the idea he would prefer to swap Ronaldo for Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, who has scored 44 goals this season in all competitions.

"No, I have Cristiano and I talk about my players," he told a news conference.

"Cristiano knows that a player can have difficult moments. That's why he's the best. Some players suffer under pressure, others just the opposite, and he is one of those. The more you criticise him... be careful."

Zidane refused to give any clues on his starting line-up but did suggest he could field a front three of Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, while praising the recent form of the Wales forward.

"He's very good. He has scored a lot of goals. He hadn't played much but he had a lot of continuity in training and he was doing well, especially in scoring," he said of Bale.

"I'm here with the 25 players every day. The others play well and they deserve their opportunity. For me, the BBC are the best, by far. They have shown it many times, but in the day to day, when I say to my group that they are all important, I have to show them that.

"It doesn't mean those three can't play together again. They played in the Clasico."

With Madrid looking to win the trophy for a third successive year while Liverpool have not reached the final since 2007, there have been suggestions Jurgen Klopp's side will be the more motivated.

Zidane, however, thinks any such argument is wrong.

"I can't tell you about the opposition. I don't know what they have. What I can tell you is that we have the same excitement," he said.

"Nobody can take that away from us or tell us we are less hungry than others. Nobody. We are Madrid. We always want more and we'll give everything to try to do it in the best way possible."

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