'Immense Ronaldo has it all' - Saha feels Real Madrid star has no equal

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The Frenchman has lauded his former Manchester United team-mate as he prepares for yet another Champions League final

Cristiano Ronaldo is enjoying a dream life and is an example for aspiring footballers to follow, according to his former Manchester United team-mate Louis Saha.

Real Madrid star Ronaldo has won the Ballon d'Or a joint-record five times in his career and is bidding to win his fifth Champions League when he faces Liverpool in the final in Kiev on Saturday.

He will then head to the World Cup with Portugal in search of another major tournament success as he shows no major signs of slowing down at the age of 33.

Saha, who spent four years alongside Ronaldo at United, has praised the forward’s ability to remain at the top of the game for so long and for being able to handle the attention off the pitch, too.

"It is just not human what he is doing," Saha told  Goal . "The stats are something but just the intensity that he has in his game. His motivation is huge, his face is completely red after the game (Saha says laughing) and, basically, two or three days later, he is still there. He doesn’t miss many games.

"He represents all his clubs and his country well. He represents his family well. All the responsibility he has and he is able to be happy. He is a very handsome guy as well, so he has it all! That probably helps him to have even more sponsors. He has got his own movie, what more can you ask of him? He has got a dream life and it makes me happy because he deserves it all.

"A lot of people think they can do everything. Some people think that they have the knowledge, background or time to do a lot. I think that there is a really good team around him, the most famous one being Jorge Mendes, but I think they are guys that he can trust with the right aims.

"He has that family around him and they run things well. All that makes him successful and I don’t think he makes the mistakes. I think if I would maybe look at any players at this age - Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar types - I think he is the one who is in control of everything. The fame, the performances, getting results every year.

Louis Saha Cristiano Ronaldo

"He has done really well. I do think that I couldn’t have expected quite so much success from when I played with him, but at the same time I saw something. He was working harder than anybody. He has these attributes. It was just immense. Even the stuff outside of football. The social media, the technology, the businesses. He built hotels.

"That, linked with his charity work, shows him to be one of the most generous sportsmen. It is just perfect. I would say that there is no equivalent, for me. I respect him a lot."

Saha, who was not part of United's matchday squad when they won the 2008 Champions League, saw his own career hampered by injuries which eventually prompted his retirement on his 35th birthday.

Just four years later, Saha has co-founded his own digital business called Axis Stars . His platform has impressed many in the technology community leading to an invite to the 2018 Yahoo Sports Technology Awards in London , where the world's best innovations are given prizes.

He admits that an injury-ravaged career caused him to look at opportunities outside the game at a young age and now hopes that his app can provide mentors and services for people to become more like Ronaldo and avoid the pitfalls of stardom in the modern media landscape.

Louis Saha

He added: "I was working hard mentally. I was watching videos while I was injured, but this was the most difficult aspect of my football career and watching my team-mates play.

"Also, team-mates playing instead of you and having to catch up. It was part of my career and I think that I did well. I played for 15 years at the top level.

"I had frustration but no regrets, because I gave it my all. I am sure now whatever information I have or have done, I can give it onto my platform as a mentor. It is open source, everyone can add their own information. They can send something like a WhatsApp inside a secure environment and find mentors like me or in other sports, that’s basically what I do now.

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"People will say it is a different industry to what footballers normally do after retiring, but it is not. It is a kind of punditry, you give your expertise. It is a kind of coaching because you make sure you know what is the right thing to do, because I have been there.

"I am very passionate about innovation and technology. I always try to be around people who want to improve. Of course, the transition is difficult because you change from something that you really love to do, but I understood that, at the age of 28 when I was getting injured, I had to find something.

"I was already kind of an author as I wrote my book. I found that there are so many mistakes made in football that get replicated many, many times with no solution out there. So, yes, I found motivation and passion quickly through struggles."

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