France great Zinedine Zidane lauded Real Madrid's record-breaking acquisition of Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo, in an interview with French daily Le Dauphine Libere. Zidane, a FIFA World Cup™ winner in 1998 and three-time FIFA World Player of the Year, held the record for the world's highest transfer fee after his €75 million move from Juventus to Real in 2001 until Ronaldo's €94 million switch from Manchester United earlier this week eclipsed him.
"I finally lose this record, which was pretty heavy to bear," said Zidane, who was named as an advisor to Florentino Perez when the 62-year-old Spaniard returned to his role as Real president last week.
Ronaldo's capture followed hot on the heels of that of Brazilian playmaker Kaka, who arrived from AC Milan for a reported 65 million euros, but Zidane said he did not think the Spanish giants' recruitment policy was unethical.
"When you want to bring the best players in the world together in one team, it costs money," said Zidane. "It's true that, with Kaka and Ronaldo, Madrid wanted to make a big statement. It was the will of the new president, Florentino Perez.
"This man wants more than just making a name for himself, he wants to give the club the chance to return to the highest level and fight on an equal footing with teams like Barcelona, for example," he said. "As to whether or not it's reasonable, that's open to debate. But me, I don't have the answer."
Zidane went on to reveal that he was currently "in discussion" with Bayern Munich attacking midfielder and former France team-mate Franck Ribery, who has also been linked with a big-money move to the Bernabeu.
"He's a magnificent player who would fit in at Real," Zidane said. "And playing in this team is a huge opportunity in the career of a player, which I don't think you could refuse. After Munich, it would be a beautiful opportunity for Franck. The decision is up to him."
Addressing his own career, Zidane said he had clearly defined plans for the future.
"Currently, things are going well with Florentino. He took me into his team because I know the Real changing room well," said the 36-year-old Frenchman, who retired after leading his country to a runners-up place at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
"For the time being, I'm there to learn, to see how things work outside the changing room," he said. "Next year, we'll see what might interest me, in order to find something more precise at the club.
"I think I could really become part of the management team at the club and maybe take charge of its destiny."