The Frenchman returned to his former club prior to the start of the season and is one of the oldest players in a squad that possesses a mixture of youth and experience.
Ranieri insists that this blend of players is key to helping Monaco become one of the giants in Ligue 1, and feels that Abidal is the perfect leader for the team.
"I wanted a French captain with a big personality. Abidal is fantastic," Ranieri told BeIN Sport. "He's unbelievable; he trains every time and when I say 'Ok Eric, slow down, go to the dressing room', he says 'No, no, I want to train'. He is a very good example for the rest of the players.
"Monaco is a fantastic place, for this reason. I think that our job was at the beginning, to choose the players that want to win, want to win for them, and for the club and for the project.
"That was very important at the beginning. And I think Abidal wants to win, [Ricardo] Carvalho wants to win, [Andrea] Raggi wants to win, [Jeremy] Toulalan wants to win, [Radamel] Falcao wants to win, [Joao] Moutinho too. That is important. As is transmitting this to the young people."
Monaco are third in Ligue 1 following their promotion from the second tier last term.