3 reasons why neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi deserve to win the Ballon d'Or
As expected, his opinion generated controversy and the debate raged on. Ronaldo and Messi have, over the years, been put on a pedestal -- so much so that suggestions that anyone was even close to them was disregarded.
Between 2008 and 2018, the pair won the Ballon d'Or five times each, with Luka Modric's win last year breaking the stranglehold. And this year looks likely to follow that pattern.
While Mourinho might be famous for his controversial comments, the Portuguese is spot on with his assessment this time. Here are three reasons why neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo deserve to win the 2019 Ballon d'Or.
#3 They both failed to deliver the Champions League
Prior to the kickoff of the 2018/19 season, both Ronaldo and Messi were on different paths to the same goal -- to win the Champions League.
The Portuguese international had just completed a mega transfer to Juventus and was seen as the final piece of the puzzle to bring the continental prize to Turin, while Messi was determined to return Europe's top trophy back to Nou Camp after a three-year dominance by rivals Real Madrid.
The Argentine international promised as much in his first statement as captain and his breathtaking performance at the start of the competition showed that he was determined to make good on his pledge.
Having almost single-handedly carried the Blaugrana all the way to the semi-final, Messi put in another masterclass in the first leg of the last four clash with Liverpool, scoring a wonderful brace as Barcelona defeated their opponents 3-0 to put them in good stead heading into the second leg.
However, in a manner eerily similar to their capitulation against AS Roma the previous season, Barcelona lost the plot and were beaten 4-0 by Liverpool at Anfield with Messi failing to make an impact on the result.
In Italy, Ronaldo started the Champions League campaign slowly, scoring just one goal from five group stage matches. However, in typical fashion, the Champions League record goalscorer took the tournament by storm in the knockout stages with his hat-trick to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit and eliminate Atletico.
In the quarterfinal, he overcame an injury to star with a goal as Juventus held a youthful Ajax side to a 1-1 draw in Netherlands, but despite scoring in the second leg, the Real Madrid legend was powerless to stop his side's elimination by the Dutch champions.
Both Ronaldo and Lionel Messi failed in their respective missions to bring the Champions League to their clubs and while they might have another shot at international glory at the Copa America and the UEFA Nations League, neither tournament is likely to weigh heavily in deciding the Ballon d'Or winner.