Hopes of challenging Barcelona’s dominance in the Spanish League have long since evaporated for Real Madrid but the defending champions do have one race they think they can win.
Zinedine Zidane has backed Cristiano Ronaldo to catch Lionel Messi in the race to be named La Liga’s top scorer, describing the Portuguese as “from another galaxy.”
Ronaldo found the back of the net four times against Girona in Sunday’s La Liga match-up, helping Los Blancos to a 6-3 victory.
It was the 33-year-old’s 50th career hat-trick, and the eighth time he has bagged four or more in a Real Madrid shirt.
Having languished on four La Liga goals before the turn of the year, Ronaldo has scored 18 in nine league games since, taking him to second in the overall standings behind his Argentine rival.
No player from Europe’s top five leagues has scored more in 2018.
“Cristiano’s a very important player for us; he transmits an important and positive energy to the group,” said Zidane.
“He’s unbelievably ambitious and that comes across in every training session and in everything he does on the pitch. It’s what makes him different from the rest.”
Such were Ronaldo’s woes in front of goal in the first half of the season, it was taking him on average 23 shots to find the back of the net. Now, Spanish media report, he is requiring less than four.
“He’s always in very good form come the end of the season,” said Zidane. “He’s got an eye for goal and he’ll never lose that.”
All four of the striker’s goals were first-touch finishes from within the area. With Ronaldo firing, Real have won eight of their past 10 La Liga fixtures, taking them within four points of Atletico Madrid in second place.
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