Jose Mourinho has delivered a double blow to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – after the legendary manager named Brazilian Ronaldo as the greatest player of all-time.
Having enjoyed a glittering managerial career, which has seen him take charge of Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United, Mourinho knows a thing or two about talented footballers.
But it is a player at Barcelona, where he began spent the early stages of his coaching career, who impressed him most.
Mourinho worked as an interpreter for Bobby Robson during the Englishman’s time in charge of the Spanish giants and he was pleasantly surprised by the arrival of Ronaldo as a teenager.
The Brazilian superstar, dubbed El Fenomeno, later emerged as one of the finest strikers of his generation and won two World Cups with Brazil.
“Ronaldo, El Fenomeno, Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi have had longer careers, they have remained at the top every day for 15 years,” Mourinho told LiveScore.
“However, if we are talking strictly about talent and skill, nobody surpasses Ronaldo [Nazario]. When he was at Barcelona with Bobby Robson, I realised that he was the best player I’d ever seen take to the field.
“Injuries killed a career that could have been even more incredible, but the talent that that 19-year-old boy had was something incredible.
“In 1997, Barcelona played against PSG in Rotterdam and Ronaldo’s goal, 1-0. Awesome.”
Ronaldo’s club career took in spells at Cruzeiro, PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Corinthians.
The striker, Ballon d’Or winner in 1997 and 2002, ended his playing career eight years ago when he hung up his boots up after two years with Corinthians.
Ronaldo scored 62 goals in 98 appearances for Brazil, including both in the World Cup final in 2002 against Germany, and is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest players.