Jose Mourinho believes Ronaldo Nazario is a better player than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
What's the story?
In case you didn't know
Mourinho, whose first coaching experience outside of Portugal was at the Camp Nou, witnessed the brilliance of Ronaldo during the 1996–97 season when he was working as an assistant coach under former Barcelona manager Bobby Robson.
The Brazilian left PSV Eindhoven and signed with the Blaugrana for a significant £13.2 million in 1996 and went on to score 47 goals in his only season at the Catalan club.
More than a decade later, Mourinho replaced Manuel Pellegrini at the Santiago Bernabéu, where he worked closely with Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese tactician went on to win a Liga title, a Copa del Rey and a Spanish Supercup during his three-year stint at the club.
Meanwhile, Messi has faced a handful of clubs led by Mourinho in the past decade and has often been lauded by the former Chelsea manager as one of the best players on the planet.
The heart of the matter
When LiveScore asked him to name the best player of his lifetime, Mourinho snubbed both Messi and Cristiano in favour of Brazilian legend Ronaldo.
He said (as per Marca), "Ronaldo, El Fenomeno, Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi have had longer careers. They have remained at the top every day for 15 years."
"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."
He added, "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."
Mourinho is yet to make a return to management since he was sacked by Manchester United last year but has been linked to Tottenham Hotspur in recent weeks.