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26.03.2009 Football News

Gerrard downplays Zidane praise

By Kofi Owusu Aduonum - Ghanaian Chronicle

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has played down the view of former France captain Zinedine Zidane that he is the best footballer in the world.

The 28-year-old England midfielder told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I was flattered, but took the comments with a pinch of salt. "I'm really happy with my form but I don't think I'm the best; not at all."

Zidane made the claim after a Gerrard brace helped dump the Frenchman's former club, Real Madrid, out of the Champions League.

The 5-0 aggregate defeat of the nine-time European Cup winners prompted the World Cup-winning playmaker to lavish praise on the player he described as an "inspiration".

"Is he the best in the world? He might not get the attention of [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo but, yes, I think he just might be," Zidane said.

"He has great passing ability, can tackle and scores goals, but most importantly he gives the players around him confidence and belief. You can't learn that - players like him are just born with that presence."

Liverpool's progress to the Champions League quarter-finals prompted further victories in domestic competition, in which Gerrard again played a prominent role.