Ronaldo? I was better, says Gremio coach Renato

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Gremio coach Renato Gaucho still believes he was a better player than Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

A 41-time Brazil international, Renato helped his nation win the 1989 Copa America, while most of his club career was spent in his homeland.

Renato won the 1983 Copa Libertadores with Gremio and enjoyed a brief stint with Italian giants Roma in the late 1980s, his only spell abroad.

The 55-year-old said earlier this year he was a better player than Ronaldo and, asked again as his team prepare to face the Portuguese star in the Club World Cup final, Renato stuck by his claims.

"I maintain that. That's why I admire Cristiano. He's a true champion. He is one of the greatest players in the world, with great qualities," Renato told a news conference.

"Every year he tries to break his own record. I really admire that in a player. He is also very generous off the pitch, which I admire a lot too.

"But it's very easy for those who didn't see me play to only praise Cristiano Ronaldo. I applaud him in every way.

"To know who played better, you would have to talk with a lot of people who also saw me play.

"So, my opinion remains the same. I admire him a lot, but that's my opinion. Everyone has their own opinion, I have mine too."

Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or for a record-equalling fifth time earlier this month and is regarded as one of the greatest ever.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane disagreed with Renato.

"He was a little strong. He was a good player but I don't share that. Cristiano is a good player. He has shown it," he said.

"Well, that's what he said and we have to respect it."