Jose Mourinho's 15-word remark that summed up Cristiano Ronaldo after bitter fallout

Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo had a fractious relationship during their time together at Real Madrid (Image: Getty)

Jose Mourinho elegantly summarised Cristiano Ronaldo’s impact on football despite their tumultuous relationship. The pair, both giants in the football world, have had a rocky history, with public spats predating their time together at Real Madrid.

Their relationship was strained when Mourinho took over at the Bernabeu in 2010, fresh from leading Inter Milan to Champions League glory. Despite achieving great success together, they often disagreed, with Ronaldo expressing his discontent with Mourinho’s tactics and the “sad” team atmosphere.

According to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, author of a 2015 Ronaldo biography, the pair nearly came to blows after Mourinho accused Ronaldo of not tracking back during a Copa del Rey match against Valencia. Super-agent Jorge Mendes, who represented both men, attempted to mend their relationship but it remained tense.

When Mourinho left Madrid by ‘mutual consent’ in 2013, their relationship seemed irreparable. However, time has been a healer, and ahead of a 2018 Champions League match between Mourinho’s Manchester United and Ronaldo’s Juventus at Old Trafford, Mourinho succinctly encapsulated Ronaldo’s influence on the sport in just 15 words.

“He is one of the best players of all time – it’s as simple as that,” he professed. Previously, Ronaldo hinted at the possibility of a reunion with Mourinho, saying: “Work with Mourinho again? Why not?”

Relations between Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo have improved in recent times (Image: Angel Martinez/Real Madrid via Getty Images)

Mourinho reminisced about their shared journey: “Coaching him was the highlight of my career. He’s the most professional player I’ve ever met. A coach and a player may have their differences at a given time, but it ends there.”

Meanwhile, Madeira’s favourite son branded his Portuguese compatriot as the best manager he’s had, placing him even above his former boss at United, Sir Alex Ferguson. It certainly raised eyebrows when Ronaldo confessed: “I would put him at the top, I always say that.”