Jose Mourinho’s opinion about where Cristiano Ronaldo ranks among greats changed in 2016

Manchester United v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

In his own mind, Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest footballer in history.

In 2017, the Portuguese superstar told France Football magazine: “I’m the best player in history, in the good moments and the bad ones.

“I respect everyone’s preferences, but I’ve never seen anyone better than me. I have always thought that. No footballer can do the things I can. There’s no player more complete than me. I play well with both feet, I’m quick, powerful, good with the head, I score goals, I make assists. There are guys who prefer Neymar or Messi. But I tell you: there’s no-one more complete than me.”

But while the self-assured Ronaldo is unquestionably one of the greatest players of all time, he probably isn’t number one in the eyes of most football supporters.

There are so many other candidates for that prestigious title including Pele, Diego Maradona, Alfredo Di Stefano and, of course, Lionel Messi.

But Ronaldo has no plans to retire just yet and could add further weight to the argument that he’s the best ever by adding to his five Ballon d’Or awards before calling time on his illustrious career.

Only Messi has managed to win the same number of Ballon d’Or awards as the Juventus forward.


One man who once claimed that Ronaldo was the best ever was Jose Mourinho, who coached his compatriot for three seasons at Real Madrid.

Towards the end of his final season at the Bernabeu - shortly before a Champions League clash against Manchester United - Mourinho told reporters that, in his eyes, Ronaldo was probably the greatest footballer ever.

"He is the best. The best in the world, yes. Probably the best ever," Mourinho was quoted as saying by the Mirror in 2013.

"I saw Maradona a couple of times. I never saw Pele. But Cristiano is amazing. This man is the best."

Real Madrid CF v Levante UD  - Liga BBVA

Was this Mourinho’s genuine opinion - or was it merely a tactic to boost Ronaldo’s ego ahead of that crunch match against United?

Well, judging by comments he went on to make in 2016, the latter would appear to be true.

Mourinho, per, was quoted as saying three years later: "For me the top three players in history are Messi, Pele and Maradona.”


So, Ronaldo went from number one in Mourinho’s eyes to dropping out of the revered manager’s top three within the space of three years, which seems rather odd.

There have been many reports that the two men fell out during their final season together at Real Madrid, which might explain Mourinho’s change of heart.


"The Special One cannot stand Ronaldo, blaming his dressing room influence at Real Madrid as one of the reasons behind his ignominious exit,” The Sun’s Neil Ashton wrote back in August.

"Mourinho criticised Ronaldo for being one of the superstars who would spend time ‘looking in the mirror in the tunnel’ before matches."

Where does Cristiano Ronaldo rank among the all-time greats? Have your say below.

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