Eye on La Liga : You can’t just stop loving Mourinho

During his time at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho couldn’t hide his ‘dislike’ for Cristiano Ronaldo, At one time he told reporters that then Manchester United Portuguese star didn’t have a good upbringing and that he never went to school.

During his time at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho couldn’t hide his ‘dislike’ for Cristiano Ronaldo, At one time he told reporters that then Manchester United Portuguese star didn’t have a good upbringing and that he never went to school.

You could say, maybe the self-anointed Special One crossed the line with that as he and his team were cracking under Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United. Ronaldo was at the time, the architect of United’s delirious campaign.

With Mourinho, you’re never short of nice quotes as he likes to say his mind without fear or favour, no wonder he is a darling of the media. He gives the journalists nice lines for their stories, but he can also be a real pain in the backside for his opponents.

When the Special One left England, though under a dark cloud, as one camp says he was sacked while another he resigned, and after a year out of work, his next stop was in Milan with Internazionale.

At Inter, he had Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a player the Portuguese coach said at the time, was better than Ronaldo and that he couldn’t swap him for any other striker in the world. You could understand, because, as a coach, saying that about his player(s) (was) is part of his responsibilities.

Ibra looks a nice dude, very good as a striker but he is no Cristiano (by the way, I’m not a very good fan of the latter. Actually, at times I am tempted to believe, he is overrated, and I think Messi is a better player).

Mourinho’s remarks came in the build-up to Inter’s meeting with Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions league as the former Chelsea manager started talking up his team. Ronaldo had just won Ballon d’Or.

“Ronaldo is a good player but he is certainly not the best,” said Mourinho. “He deserved the Golden Ball award because his team won the Champions League and the Premier League. But, for me, Ibrahimovic is the best.”

“When I think how a player should be, names like Kaka, Ibrahimovic and (Lionel) Messi come to mind,” said Mourinho. But he never mentioned Ronaldo!

“Messi is great and in two or three years’ time he will win the Golden Ball (Ballon d’Or) award,” added the special One Indeed the Argentinean forward went on achieve that feat just a year later.  

Fast forward, and both Mourinho and Ronaldo are in the same team, fighting for the same cause, facing a common enemy, and now the star striker is the best player in the world in the eyes of his coach. How times change!
A few weeks back, Mourinho was at it again, when asked who is the better player between Ronaldo and Messi and he came up with yet another classic quote.

“We can argue over it, but it will always be between him and Messi, and then it only matters which one you like more. It’s like the Aston Martin, the Bentley, the Ferrari. Which is better? Depends on what you want. For me, the best is my own. So, I have no doubt, because Cristiano is mine and Messi isn’t. I have a Ferrari, not an Aston Martin. Ronaldo is my Ferrari “, he said.

With the season not even quarter way, Mourinho’s ‘Ferrari’ (read Ronaldo) scored 13 times in October and became the first Real Madrid player to score at least two goals in each of four consecutive matches. He has 12 league goals in nine games, up from five at this time last season.

Going with his early season form, it would be crazy to bet against the Real Madrid forward wrestling the Ballon d’Or from his main rival and current holder, Messi

So, at this stage, would you vote Ronaldo as the best in the world? To me, he would be, but for one thing. Messi’s figures this season are almost as good as Ronaldo’s.

Looking at their statistics so far, it is pretty too hard to choose between the two guys. Messi has missed two games because of injury (against Athletic Bilbao and Gijón).  With Ronaldo on 12 in nine games, he is on 7, in seven.

But, while Ronaldo’s goals have come against Deportivo, Racing, Málaga, Espanyol and Hércules-- all of them in the bottom half  of the table standing -- Messi’s has come against top eight clubs in Mallorca, Sevilla, Valencia and Atlético.

Messi’s goal against Copenhagen in the Champions League on Tuesday made him the highest scorer in Europe’s premier competition in Barcelona’s history. It was his 100th goal under Pep Guardiola in 114 games. That’s a phenomenon record, which I’m pretty sure Mourinho and his ‘Ferrari’ can only envy.

nku78@yahoo.com

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