Mourinho didn’t think Cristiano Ronaldo was the best player after he won 2008 Ballon d’Or

It was back in 2008 when Cristiano Ronaldo won the first of his five Ballon d’Ors.

The Portuguese superstar enjoyed a stunning year, helping Manchester United to a Premier League and Champions League double.

Seventy-seven of the 96 journalists who were polled by France Football voted for Ronaldo to win the award.

It was a reward for his incredible efforts at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo scored 42 goals in 49 appearances in all competitions in 2007-08, a season which was capped off with domestic and European glory.

“It is one of the most beautiful days of my life. To gain this trophy is something I dreamed of as a child,” Ronaldo said, per the Telegraph.

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“Great emotion fills me but I cannot really describe it. I want to thank those who voted for me, those who know me and those who live with me.”


But not everyone was ready to anoint Ronaldo as the true king.

Jose Mourinho, who would go on to manage Ronaldo at Real Madrid, reacted to his compatriot’s success by saying that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a better player.

Mourinho was Ibrahimovic’s manager of Inter Milan at the time when he failed to mention Ronaldo as the type of player he considers as a proper footballer.

“Ronaldo is a good player but he is certainly not the best,” Mourinho said, per BBC Sport.

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“He deserved the Golden Ball award because his team won the Champions League and the Premier League. But, for me, Ibrahimovic is the best.”

Mourinho added: “When I think how a player should be, names like Kaka, Ibrahimovic and (Lionel) Messi come to mind.

“Messi is great and in two or three years’ time he will win the Golden Ball award.”

It’s hardly surprising that Mourinho and Ronaldo’s relationship at the Bernabeu was fractured.

In his 2015 biography of Ronaldo, Guillem Balague said the pair nearly came to blows in the dressing room after Mourinho reprimanded the forward following a match against Valencia in the Copa del Rey in January 2013.

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“After everything I’ve done for you, this is how you treat me! How dare you say that to me?!” Ronaldo reportedly said to his manager, per the Telegraph.

Mourinho has clashed with many of his players but where Ronaldo is concerned, it seems their relationship was doomed from the start.


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