The 21-year-old winger made an instant impact on his Bluebirds debut in the 2-1 win over Norwich, just over 24 hours after completing a loan move from Manchester United.
The England international has found his opportunities limited at United since joining from Crystal Palace, but Solskjaer has been very impressed by his skills and admits there are some aspects of his play that are similar to his former team-mate Ronaldo.
The Portuguese forward showed raw potential in his early days at Old Trafford before developing into a global star, joining Real Madrid and winning the Ballon d'Or.
"I don't really want to compare Wilfried with Cristiano, but he has quick feet like Cristiano, he is brave like Cristiano and wants to go forward," said Solskjaer.
"But he is young. He has got to make a decision about how good does he want to be and how he loves this game.
"Coming in here he just wants to play football and he's been bright as a button these last few days."
And Solskjaer believes Ronaldo is the perfect example for Zaha to follow if he is to fulfil his potential.
"Cristiano worked every single day," he said. "I have never seen anyone work as hard as him.
"Before training, after training, he was an exceptionally dedicated man.
"For me and everyone who has been at United he is the one we talk about because he has done it.
"He proved to everyone what being dedicated gets you, having a chef to cook your food, dedicating your whole life to football and being the best player in the world.
"It's an example to everyone. I am not afraid of using Sir Alex or Cristiano as an example when I have to because to get the best out of your talent you need to be dedicated.
"We all know that not everyone has got it.
"It's a desire and attitude from within, it's what you've got in your heart and Cristiano's always had it."
The win over Norwich gave Solskjaer his first Premier League victory as a manager and moved the Bluebirds off the foot off the table.
The Canaries are just two points outside the drop zone and face Manchester City next.
Their manager Chris Hughton has yet to hold talks with wantaway Wes Hoolahan, but expects the midfielder to be fully committed to the club now the transfer window has closed.
The 31-year-old was not part of the Canaries squad in Wales after having a transfer request rejected amid interest from Aston Villa and also making derogatory comments about the Carrow Road club.
A move did not materialise for the Republic of Ireland international, and his manager expects him to buckle down.
"The transfer window ended Friday night and it is business as usual come Monday morning, and we will train and prepare for a real tough game next Saturday," said Hughton.
"Everyone knows there was a bid for him. He put in a transfer request. which we turned down.
"Wes won't be the first player at a club that has wanted to leave and it has not happened. The reality is he is a Norwich City player and the players will knuckle down, train and do all they can and want to be involved, and I expect Wes to be no different.
"I have not spoken to him, we had communication before the last couple of days, but our concentration has been on the game.
"It's normal that I will speak with players and Wes is very much a Norwich player, the window is gone, he wanted to go but I am sure he will knuckle down and do the best job he can."
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