When the rumours back in 2010 first started to speculate that Jose Mourinho was to take over from Manuel Pellegrini as the manager of Real Madrid, waves of excitement began to ripple throughout the football world.
For a multitude of reasons the idea of The Special One taking charge of perhaps the most famous club in history was one which demanded attention, and soon after Inter Milan’s Champions League triumph it became clear that Mourinho would indeed become the next coach tasked with constructing a Galactico side capable of securing that coveted tenth European title.
Mourinho's allure at Madrid
For Madrid fans the attraction to Mourinho was one which came naturally. An incredibly successful manager who had won silverware at every turn and who promised to add that element of exciting unpredictability that his character had become famous for; what wasn't to like?
For the board is was an appealing option too. Florentino Perez’s millions had yet again assembled a side containing a wealth of world-class players and all that was deemed missing was a commanding figurehead in the dugout to orchestrate their brilliance.
However for the copious amounts of neutrals salivating over Mourinho’s appointment as manager at the Santiago Bernabeu it was the thought of him combining with one man in particular which offered reason for the heightened anticipation: Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Mourinho/ Ronaldo partnership
The Portuguese star at the time was gearing up for his second season with Los Blancos, having made a world-record shattering £80 million switch from Manchester United the summer previous. Though not yet having amassed the incredible goals-to-game ratio which can be attributed to him today Ronaldo was already sitting pretty in the ‘world-class’ category of player, rivalled only perhaps by Lionel Messi.
Similarly Mourinho’s stock was incredible high. A treble-winning season with Inter had banished the notion that his fortunes with Chelsea were simply a result of Roman Abramovich’s loose purse strings, and the possibilities of what could be borne from the world’s best manager working with the world’s best player were quite literally endless.
As is so often the case however the optimism paved way for a fantasy that was somewhat misplaced from the reality. Though Ronaldo managed an astonishing 120 La Liga goals in just three seasons under Mourinho the team as a whole didn’t function with nearly as much panache, and only managed to prise the La Liga trophy from Barcelona’s unerring grasp once in three years.
The latter period of Mourinho’s reign at the Bernabeu was then addled with rumours that he and Ronaldo had endured a series of fallings out, and the power struggle the Portuguese coach instigated was ultimately the reason for his exit in 2013.
Yet whilst it’s not too surprising that the union of arguably football’s two biggest egos didn’t produce golden results, it is a shock to see them being linked with a re-union now.
That’s right, recent reports across the continent have claimed that Mourinho harbours an interest in capitalising on Ronaldo’s supposed rocky situation at Madrid, by launching a mammoth bid to beat United to his signature.
Ronaldo to Chelsea?
Now, the idea of the Blues throwing extortionate amounts of money at Perez in the hope of prevailing with what would be one of the most sensational deals of all time shouldn’t be doubted.
Abramovich has invested nearly £1 billion into turning Chelsea into a European superpower, and having a commercial giant such as Ronaldo on his books would not only dramatically enhance the club’s brand but also turn them into outright favourites for the Premier League.
However there remains one factor that will surely rule out Ronaldo moving to Stamford Bridge anytime in the near future. Coincidentally it’s the same one that once upon a time had Madrid fans smitten with illusions of grandeur: Mourinho.
The flaws in the plan
Aside from the obvious hope United fans would have that Ronaldo would never consent to joining one of their biggest rivals, the biggest flaw in Mourinho’s plans to land the Ballon d’Or holder is surely Mourinho himself.
Even if their past spats could be forgotten Mourinho’s is still possessive of the sort of arrogance and self-belief that makes it impossible for one of his players to truly be the star of the show. In the theatre at Stamford Bridge it’s the manager who is the organiser, lead actor and ultimately the main attraction.
With Ronaldo slowly edging into the latter stages of his career it stands to reason that he will want to finish in the same manner that he’s epitomised since bursting onto the scene at Sporting Lisbon. Ronaldo is the golden boy wherever he goes, and his clash with Mourinho, somewhat derived from their similar personalities, means that unless he wants to forfeit that right a move to west London is completely off the cards.
The more probable route
On top of that Ronaldo is all too aware that such a role would be readily available for him at United, a team for whom he’s already expressed his apparent undying love. The ranks at Old Trafford may now be bursting with a galaxy of talent but there will always be room for the forward that Sir Alex Ferguson made into a hero.
Unfortunately for Chelsea fans the Ronaldo/ Mourinho partnership promises an old ‘this town ain’t big enough for the both of us’ issue and, with the player in question having the ability to walk into any club in the world it would nothing short of lunacy for him to move to west London as a result.