Real Madrid's Uruguayan midfielder Federico Valverde has credited manager Zinedine Zidane for giving him the self-confidence to flourish with the Spanish giants.
After playing 25 matches in his first full season as a Real Madrid player in 2018-19, Valverde has already made 32 appearances in this campaign, mostly as a starter.
"He gives you confidence in a way that few other coaches do," Valverde said an Instagram live chat with followers of the Uruguayan Football Association, Xinhua news reports.
Zidane is regarded as one of the best midfielders in history, having led France to victory at the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship.
He later became the first manager to win three successive UEFA Champions League titles by guiding Real Madrid to glory in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
"Everyone has great respect for him because, apart from being the manager, he's a legend on a world scale," Valverde said. "You have to keep what he tells you inside your head. Sometimes in a game he'll tell you to change something or give you a suggestion. Or he might criticize you. If he says it, you have to listen and try to get the most out of it."
Valverde also praised Real Madrid midfield colleagues Luke Modric, Casemiro and Tony Kroos. He described Kroos as a reference for all players, citing the Germany World Cup winner's "admirable composure" on the ball.
The 21-year-old, who has already been capped 20 times for Uruguay's national team, said he was keeping busy during Spain's coronavirus lockdown by playing video games and spending time with his family.
"You have to try to take care of yourself and avoid going out," Valverde said. "It's what the government is saying and it is the best thing for everyone so that this can end and everybody can go back and enjoy outside life again."