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Currently in Italy to attend a series of events, former Real Madrid striker Ronaldo took some time out from his busy schedule to talk to us here at

Before landing in Milan, Il Fenomeno was in Paris to watch the Champions League game between PSG and Chelsea, and also managed to meet former manager Carlo Ancelotti:

“It’s an honor to be his friend. He’s not just a great coach, but also a great man. I’m happy that he's going to join Bayern, I saw him extremely motivated for his new challenge". 

Regarding his former team mate at Real Madrid Zinedine Zidane, the 39-year-old said:

“Everybody knows that Zizou is a great friend. I really hope that he will have a great career as a coach too. Winning at Roma was very important for him.

"He’s the best player with whom I have ever played with. We had a lot of fun on the pitch.

"Could this be Real’s year? Yes, they must focus on the Champions League, they have everything to succeed”.

When it came to talking about the very best professionals he'd played with, the former Inter legend was coy: "Well, I had the chance to play alongside the best players of my era, as I have always been with great clubs.

"Honestly, I can’t come up with a list, as I would end up leaving out some friends, not to mention some true champions…. I'll just say Nesta, Zanetti, Maldini, Pirlo, Figo, Raul, Baggio, Stoichkov, and many more, starting from all my Seleçao team-mates”. 

Luis Nazario da Lima, as he is known, initially made his name in Europe with PSV Eindhoven, before moving to Bobby Robson's Barcelona. Beyond ranking Luis Suarez among the world's three best Number 9s ("I think three players are up there: Lewandowski, Suarez and Benzema"), he revealed that Neymar was "the one who is the most like me". 
"Neymar, I like him a lot. He had some difficulties in getting used to his new environement, but I knew that he was going to succeed. Can he be Messi’s heir? Yes, he has everything he needs to become as strong as him”.

About the Brazilian national team's progress following last summer's World Cup, Ronaldo preached calm above all else.

“We’ll have to be patient. Dunga is working for the long-term; it's a tough job, being Brazil is not enough to win. I’m optimistic, anyway”.

O Fenomeno, as he is known in Brazil, also spoke of his former club, Inter Milan: “I still follow Italian football. The Nerazzurri began really well, but they are currently going through a difficult moment, but I think that they still can fight for the title.

"Life without Moratti? Moratti has never really left, as proved by the fact that he still has some shares and remains close to the club and Mancini”.

Regarding his future, Ronaldo said that he "will never coach. Becoming an Inter executive? No, even though I love the nerazzurri. I just can’t see myself working for one single club”.

And, to end on a sour note.... we asked him whether May 5th 2002 was the biggest disappointment in his career. The date has gone down in infamy since Inter lost to Lazio on the final day of the season, when a win would have guaranteed the Scudetto. 

"Well, even July 12th, 1998 was not a happy day for me. Thank God that the following World Cup brought so much joy to the whole country”

Carlo Pallavicino - precis translation by M.G, @EdoDalmonte