Former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has named ex-Brazil striker Ronaldo as the best player he has ever seen.
In the modern era, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are often put head-to-head in discussions for the greatest footballer in history with both having dedicated sets of fans.
Who is the best player in history? Five things to know…
- Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dominate the conversation for the best player in the world.
- The duo are also often mentioned in discussions of the best footballer in history, alongside Diego Maradona and Pele.
- But Jose Mourinho has named former Brazilian striker Ronaldo as the best he has ever seen.
- Ronaldo won two Ballon d’Ors and was named FIFA World Player of the Year on three occasions.
- The striker also won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil, scoring eight goals.
The duo have dominated the awards for the best player for the past decade, winning five Ballon d’Ors each while also scooping up three of the four The Best FIFA Men’s Player titles – with Cristiano Ronaldo leading two to one.
Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have also made the record books their own in La Liga and the Champions League for goalscoring. But Mourinho, who also spent time in Spain with Real Madrid and Barcelona at different levels, believes another player stands above Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Ronaldo, El Fenomeno, Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi have had longer careers, they have remained at the top every day for 15 years,” he told LiveScore.
“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.
“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.”
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Ronaldo: The best?
Widely considered to be one of the best strikers in football, Ronaldo started his career in his native Brazil with Cruzeiro, making his debut at just 16. His performances, scoring 44 goals in 47 games, earned him a call up to the Brazil squad for the 1994 World Cup and kickstarted a career that no one will forget.
The Brazilian went on to represent PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Corinthians, giving defenders nightmares wherever he went before finally calling time on his career in 2011.
And his successes were not just limited to club football, with Ronaldo forming part of the excellent Brazil team between 1998 and 2006 which boasted the likes of Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo and Kaka. At 21, Ronaldo, then already touted as the best player in the world, looked to be leading Brazil to World Cup glory in 1998 before illness hampered his performance in the final.
But he would be back in 2002, leading the way for Brazil en route to winning the World Cup, scoring eight goals and lifting the Golden Boot all while sporting a haircut that will be just as remember as the man himself.
Even with injuries preventing Ronaldo from reaching a new level altogether, the Brazilian striker scored 414 goals for club and country as well as winning countless individual awards.