International

Benitez: Ronaldo the best

2015-07-23 09:34
Cristiano Ronaldo. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou, AFP)

Melbourne - Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez on Thursday hailed his superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo as the best in the world as he played down reports of tension between the pair.

Real Madrid take on English Premier League heavyweights Manchester City in the final match of the International Champions Cup in Melbourne on Friday, however Spanish reports say the atmosphere has become testy on the training pitch during the club's pre-season tour of Australia.

But Benitez, who took over from Carlo Ancelotti in June, suggested he had no problems with Ronaldo.

"Luckily, I have had the opportunity this week to spend quite a few days with him," Benitez told reporters.

"And I can say that he's competitive, he likes to win, and for that reason he is the best in the world.

"I would like all players to have that desire to win and to compete. You've all seen him train today and I think his performance will be up to scratch.

"I talk to all the players a lot. I have had the opportunity to talk to him, too. We talked about football and yes, he is competitive.

"Seeing Ronaldo up close training, I can see that he's doing very well."

Ronaldo, the world's third-highest paid sportsman this year after boxers Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, played the first-half on Saturday as Real Madrid lost their opening Melbourne match on penalties to Italy's AS Roma.

Manchester City, who beat Roma in a penalty shoot-out on Tuesday, will attempt to win the three-team tournament when they take on the 10-time European champions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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