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Top 5 managers Cristiano Ronaldo has played under

Cristiano Ronaldo has played under some of the best managers of our time
Cristiano Ronaldo has played under some of the best managers of our time
Shubham Dupare

Cristiano Ronaldo is often considered to be one of the best players of all time. With hard work and determination, he has managed to stay at the top of the game and despite turning 36 last month, is scoring goals at will.

Despite all his talent, like every successful footballer, he needed the guidance of astute managers to deliver top-notch performances on the pitch. From Sir Alex Ferguson to Andrea Pirlo, he has had the fortune to play under the tutelage of a host of distinguished and not-so-distinguished bosses.

Here, we take a look at the five best managers the Portuguese talisman has played under so far.


#5 Fernando Santos - Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo won the EURO 2016 with Portugal under Fernando Santos
Cristiano Ronaldo won the EURO 2016 with Portugal under Fernando Santos

Cristiano Ronaldo has played under three coaches with the Portugal national team but the only one who is worth mentioning in this list is current coach Fernando Santos.

Santos was Sporting Lisbon coach for a brief period during the 2003-04 season and coached a young Ronaldo in pre-season when the Portuguese outfit played Manchester United in a friendly.

Soon after that game, the then-future superstar was on his way to Old Trafford. Santos again got the opportunity to coach him 11 years later with the national side.

He has been at the helm of A Seleção since 2014. In seven years, he has helped them to their first major silverware in history at Euro 2016, with Ronaldo as the fulcrum of that team.

The duo also went on to lift the first-ever UEFA Nations League trophy three years later.

In the 56 games that Ronaldo has played under Santos, he has scored 51 goals and picked up nine assists, including friendlies.


#4 Carlo Ancelotti - Real Madrid

Carlo Ancelotti and Cristiano Ronaldo
Carlo Ancelotti and Cristiano Ronaldo

Carlo Ancelotti and Ronaldo enjoyed a great relationship during their time together at Real Madrid. It was unfortunate that the now-Everton boss was let go after his failure to lift the La Liga trophy after just two seasons in charge.

The Italian manager led Ronaldo to his second Champions League triumph, which was even more memorable for both of them, as it was the unprecedented tenth title, La Decima, for Los Blancos.

Ancelotti is often given credit for pushing Ronaldo out of his comfort zone and playing him in a more central role. This allowed the superstar to make the most of his goalscoring instincts.

Ancelotti led Madrid to their first-ever Club World Cup title in 2014 as well. Talking about the star in 2016, Ancelotti said:

"You see a different kind of Cristiano Ronaldo when you are the manager of his team. First of all, I never once saw him in front of the dressing-room mirror or worrying about how he looked. For Cristiano the priority was always to win."

With 112 goals and 46 assists in 101 games, it seems Ronaldo sure enjoyed playing under the three-time Champions League winner.


Also See: Top 10 quotes on Cristiano Ronaldo

#3 Zinedine Zidane - Real Madrid

Ronaldo and Zindane
Ronaldo and Zindane

Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed the most successful period of his career trophy-wise under Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane. In their two-and-a-half-year association, they won nine trophies, including three back-to-back Champions League triumphs.

While they both left the club at the same time, Ronaldo has continued to add to his goal tally and trophy collection with Juventus. Zidane took a nine-month break to return to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2019 and deliver their first La Liga title in three years next season.

Zidane knew the value that the Portuguese star brought with him and conceded in an interview post-Ronaldo's move to Juventus that it was impossible to replace the player. He said:

"It is impossible to replace Cristiano, it does not matter who you sign. He has left the club and you can sign quality players but they will not achieve what he did at this club, but that is football."

Under him, he scored 112 goals and picked up 29 assists in 114 competitive fixtures for Madrid.


#2 Jose Mourinho - Real Madrid

Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo
Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo

Given their Portuguese connection, it was expected that Cristiano Ronaldo would have the best chemistry with Jose Mourinho. But as we all know, that was not the case.

Mourinho and Ronaldo had quite a few bust-ups during their three-year association at Real Madrid.

Though Mourinho's stay at the Santiago Bernabeu was not an especially trophy-laden one, with a La Liga title, Copa Del Rey and Supercopa de Espana to show for his efforts, Ronaldo enjoyed the most prolific phase of his career under the Special One.

Although they may not have gotten along on the pitch, Mourinho only had kind words for his compatriot and called managing Ronaldo the highlight of his highly successful career. He said:

"Coaching [Ronaldo] was the highlight of my career. He's the most professional player I've ever met.
"A coach and player may have their differences at a given time, but it ends there. I don't have any problem. I had only one problem with him, very simple, very basic."

#1 Sir Alex Ferguson - Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson is the most successful Premier League manager of all-time
Sir Alex Ferguson is the most successful Premier League manager of all-time

Ronaldo often credits Sir Alex Ferguson for setting him on the path to becoming one of the greatest players of all time. The duo developed a father-son-like relationship during their time together at Manchester United and remain close to the present day.

It was Ferguson who insisted on Ronaldo taking the iconic No.7 jersey at the club and with that delivered a statement on how much trust and expectations he had from the Portuguese winger.

It is said people who get to know icons before they reach the top are the ones who have the biggest impact on them. Rightly so, the Scot has had a huge influence on the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

It was under Ferguson that Ronaldo first earned individual honors in the PFA Player of the Year Award, European Golden Shoe, the erstwhile FIFA World Player of the year award and obviously his first Ballon d'Or.

Ferguson will remain by some margin the greatest manager Ronaldo has ever worked with. In his 2013 autobiography, Ferguson wrote:

"Cristiano Ronaldo was the most gifted player I managed. He surpassed all the other great ones I coached at United. And I had many.
"We helped Ronaldo to be the player he was and he helped us recapture the excitement and self-expression of Manchester United teams."

Also See: Top 10 football players with the most fans in the world

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava

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