Zinedine Zidane believes that Michael Balllack has the makings of a Real Madrid player, but the Frenchman warned that he will not relinquish his playmaking role at the club lightly.

Madrid’s Ronaldo claimed on Sunday that Ballack could one day replace Zidane as the side’s creative fulcrum.

“If one player has the quality for Real Madrid it is Michael Ballack,” Zidane told the Bild daily.

“However it will be difficult for him to play alongside me and I will not be giving up my place lightly.

“I observed him during the international match in Paris,” added Zidane.

“He is a fighter and is certainly in good form this season. I do not know him that well but I have a lot of respect for him as a player and person.

“He needs to sort his situation out at Bayern and then should come to us. We would welcome him with open arms.”

Ballack becomes a free agent in the summer and is able to to talk with Madrid and other interested parties in January 2006.

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