Reports over the last few days would have you believe that Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Real Madrid is imminent. The Portuguese star's future at the Bernabeu isn't up for debate according to the club's new manager, Zinedine Zidane, though, who insists that he's going nowhere.
Zidane didn't stop there though, and the French manager went on to shower the Portuguese forward with a plethora of praise. Not only did he call the soccer star, and three time Ballon d'Or winner, "non-transferrable," but he insisted that he is the "soul of Madridismo."
When asked about Ronaldo's future at the club after Madrid had demolished Deportivo La Coruna by five goals to nil on Saturday evening, Zidane emphatically declared, "[Ronaldo] is non-transferrable. He is the soul of this team, of Madridismo. I laugh at your question. When I am here, he will not leave."
Zidane insists that Ronaldo will remain as the first choice free-kick taker, and he is adamant that his main ambition is to keep Cristiano as happy as possible.
"Cristiano will play as he does," Zidane continued. "I will say few things to Cristiano. What I want is for him to be happy. The rest comes from that."
There have been a variety of rumors regarding Cristiano Ronaldo's future at the club over the last few months, as it was previously reported that the former Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United player didn't get along with Rafael Benitez, the manager that Zidane replaced.
Zidane insisted that every player at Real Madrid is very happy, while also admitting that he's pretty ecstatic too. Which is hardly surprising considering that he's just taken charge of arguably the biggest soccer club in the world with very minimal experience.
"I am happy, very happy, and the players too," Zidane remarked after his first win in his first match as Real Madrid manager, via ESPN. "The truth is I feel strong, content and we will go for everything we have in front of us. We want to transmit that happiness to the fans, every time we play at the Bernabeu, for the fans to enjoy their team, the players we have."
Zinedine Zidane is regarded as one of the best soccer player in the history of the game, having won the 2002 Champions League and the 2002-2003 La Liga title during his tenure at the Bernabeu.
"I do not believe anyone will leave," the midfielder, who scored two goals in the final to inspire France to the 1998 World Cup, admitted. "I do not want that. We will see what happens, but I don't want any of them to leave. I don't need signings either -- I have a good group, with numbers, am happy with the squad I have."
Zidane continued, "James and Isco are important players, very good players. The only thing is to give them love and confidence. We are 25 and some will play more than others, but at the end the most important thing is the group. That was my experience as a player -- the strongest group always won."
[Image via Getty/Denis Doyle]