LYON - France great Zinedine Zidane yesterday lauded Real Madrid's record-breaking acquisition of Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo.
Zidane, a World Cup winner in 1998 and three-time Fifa World Player of the Year, held the record for the world's highest transfer fee of about R843million when he moved from Juventus to Real in 2001.
But Ronaldo's transfer fee of about R1billion from Manchester United to Real earlier this week has set a new record.
"I finally lose this record, which was pretty heavy to bear," Zidane said.
Ronaldo's capture followed hot on the heels of that of Brazilian playmaker Kaka, who arrived from AC Milan for a reported fee of R730million.
Zidane, who was named advisor to Florentino Perez when the 62-year-old Spaniard returned to his role as Real president last week, 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," Zidane said.
"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."
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.
Addressing his own career, Zidane, the former attacking midfielder who retired after leading France to a runners-up place at the 2006 World Cup, said he had clearly defined plans for the future.
"Currently, things are going well with Florentino," he said.
"For the time being, I'm there to learn, to see how things work outside the changing room.
"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." - Sapa-AFP