Madrid, May 6 (IANS) Brazil football legend Ronaldo has heaped praised on Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane for gaining the respect of his club's players.

Ronaldo and Zidane played together at Real Madrid from 2002 until the latter's retirement in 2006, the French star having joined from Juventus in 2001 and the centre-forward arriving a year later from Inter Milan.

Zidane stepped up from his role in charge of the club's junior side to take charge of the first team in January when Rafael Benitez's tenure came to an early end.

Wednesday's 1-0 win over Manchester City secured a Champions League final spot for Zidane's men and they will now face rivals Atletico Madrid in the decider on May 28 at Milan's San Siro stadium, where they will attempt to secure an 11th European Cup.

"It was very important to reach the final and we are all very happy. It was very important to win," Ronaldo was quoted as saying by Spanish radio network Cadena COPE on Thursday.

"It's amazing what he's doing, Zidane. He deserves it. He has the respect of the players," he said.

Ronaldo, who left Madrid in 2007, is delighted with the team's progress under his former team-mate.

On the Champions League final, Ronaldo added: "Atletico Madrid has much merit but hopefully it can be the title of Real Madrid."