The heat of the summer was still blazing at Valdebebas as Cristiano Ronaldo continued his recovery from the ankle injury that he suffered in the Euro 2016 final in Paris. Real Madrid would have to start the new season without their best player, but Zidane had already announced to his trusted inner circle exactly what, little by little, we were going to see.
Zidane's premonition over Cristiano
The French coach, at that moment, said in the privacy of his office: "Cristiano is going to have his best year. He will be even more decisive in the games that decide titles." It was an intuition directly connected with his World-Cup-winning experience in 1998 and with the talk he had had with Ronaldo when he returned from his vacation. Zizou knew that, by winning the Euros with Portugal, Cristiano had taken a load off and been released from an immense responsibility.
Zizou's plan falling into place
Zizou also knew that Cristiano had understood the message he’d given him about the need to rotate from time to time, not only to achieve improved performances in the last months of competition, but also to extend his career at the highest level. This is all beginning to fit into place now, as we are seeing the fastest, strongest and most in tune version of CR7 that we’ve seen all season; a clear sign that the "pact" between Zizou and Cristiano is coming to fruition at the key moment.
The best CR7 has arrived
And for those who talk about the Portuguese striker’s anxiety at not having scored in a match as significant as the Champions League game against Napoli, I can assure you that he was very happy about how he played that night. The best Cristiano is here, and Zidane had already sensed it.