Madrid - Cristiano Ronaldo lauded the
impact made by Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane as the Frenchman led the
Spanish giants into the Champions League final with a 1-0 win over Manchester
City on Wednesday.
Brazilian midfielder Fernando's first-half
own goal was the only difference between the sides over two legs as Real set up
a repeat of the 2014 final against local rivals Atletico Madrid in Milan on May
Zidane replaced the sacked Rafael Benitez
with Madrid in crisis in January, but has sparked just Real's second run to the
final in the 14 years since he scored the winning goal against Bayer Leverkusen
for Real in 2002.
"Zidane is doing a great job,"
"I admire him as a coach and a person,
I hope he continues in the job.
"We've always been behind Zidane
because he is a humble person who likes to listen, and that always makes things
Ronaldo made his return after a three-game
absence due to a thigh injury, but was unable to match his own record of 17
Champions League goals in a single season in a tight game short on clear-cut
"It was a complete game, the team
played really well and we could have finished them off with a second goal - 1-0 is a tight score line but it's enough," added Ronaldo.
Zidane admitted he could bask in some of
the glory for Real's resurgence of 19 wins in his 24 games in charge, but
reserved his praise for the players.
"I am the coach, so I am doing
something right for sure, but it is not just me," said the Frenchman.
"It is a question of all the people
working with me and the most important people are the players. It is them that
allow you to win in football."
By contrast, City coach Manuel Pellegrini
will give way to Pep Guardiola at the end of the season having failed to get
them to a final in his three seasons in charge.
The Chilean lamented his side's luck as
Gareth Bale's intended cross deflected off Fernando and looped over the
helpless Joe Hart for the only goal of the tie.
However, Pellegrini admitted City hadn't
created nearly enough to merit a place in the final.
"Neither of the two teams deserved to
win the game," said Pellegrini.
"I don't think we saw a superior
Madrid, we pressed them, but with the ball we lacked the creativity to do
"There was lot of work in the 180
minutes, but very little football."
However, Pellegrini defended his record
having taken City to the last four for the first time and believes they will
have the potential to go all the way under Guardiola.
"I think it is a special season
because we have reached the semis," he added.
"We are not happy, but I don't think
we deserved to compete the final. They had that bit of luck.
"In the Champions League it is a step
more, but I think this team must always try to play the final in the next