Ronaldo and Messi left out of top player discussion

Jose Mourinho, a renowned figure in football management, is often regarded as one of the greatest managers in the sport’s history.

His opinions hold weight when it comes to identifying the best players to have graced the football pitch. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, with their numerous accolades and Ballon d’Or wins, usually dominate discussions on the world’s greatest-ever stars.

However, in a surprising move back in 2019, Mourinho chose to deviate from the norm.

Despite having coached Ronaldo and faced Messi throughout his career, Mourinho opted to snub both superstars and instead selected Ronaldo Nazario, also known as R9, as the greatest player.

The Brazilian striker achieved remarkable success, winning the World Cup twice and claiming two Ballon d’Or titles. Unfortunately, his career was tragically hampered by injuries, particularly knee issues.

Why did Mourinho choose Ronaldo Nazario?

Mourinho explained his choice, stating, “When he was at Barcelona with Bobby Robson, I realized that he was the best player I’d ever seen take to the field. Injuries prevented his career from reaching even greater heights, but his talent and skill were unmatched.”

Ronaldo burst onto the scene at PSV Eindhoven, scoring an astonishing 54 goals in 58 games. He then moved to Barcelona, where Mourinho, acting as Robson’s interpreter, had the opportunity to work alongside him.

Although Ronaldo spent only a season at Barcelona before joining Inter Milan, he made a significant impact in his initial years at the Serie A club.

Injuries plagued his career, but he later represented Real Madrid, AC Milan, and Corinthians, winning a total of 10 major trophies and scoring 414 goals across club and international competitions.

Mourinho’s choice of Ronaldo as the greatest player highlights the immense talent and potential the Brazilian possessed.

Despite his career being cut short prematurely, his impact and skills left an indelible mark on Mourinho, cementing his place among the all-time greats in the eyes of the Portuguese manager.

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