Jose Mourinho has named the three footballers who he thinks are the greatest of all time. ‘The special one’ was asked to name his picks for the three greatest players in football history, to which his response was “For me, the top three players in history are (Lionel) Messi, Pele and (Diego) Maradona.”
While few will argue that these players are indeed among the greatest of all time, there is one name that is conspicuous in its absence – Cristiano Ronaldo. The Manchester United manager had worked with his fellow countryman for three years at Real Madrid, and many are surprised that the mercurial forward wasn’t mentioned in his list.
The debate has been raging on for many years now over who the best player of the current generation is, and it unsurprisingly comes down to either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. The two players have smashed a truly staggering number of records between them, and their playing on opposing sides of one of the biggest rivalries in world football only serves to divide their fan bases further.
The fact that Mourinho named Messi as one of the greatest of all time and omitted his Portuguese compatriot from that list seems to indicate where he stands on that particular debate.
Ronaldo won’t be too happy about the snub from his ex-manager, but perhaps isn’t overly surprised by it. The two of them had a tense and difficult relationship at Madrid. Mourinho felt that Ronaldo refused to listen to his instructions, and sensed an air of arrogance and over-confidence in him.
Cristiano didn’t like the defensive and negative tactics often used by his manager, and on one occasion even urged his teammates to abandon their game plan and play a more attacking brand of football. They went on to lose that match 0-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu against fierce rivals Barcelona.
After the game, Mourinho gave his star player a stern talking to, and an argument followed. Ronaldo was then dropped from the starting squad for their next game against Real Zaragoza, which they lost 2-3 at home.
There will be many to defend Mou’s choices and there will be just as many to argue them, but that is of little significance. Both players are widely recognised as two of the best to ever grace a football field with their presence, and picking a favourite between the two is simply a matter of personal preference. Now we know the opinion of one of the most intelligent people in football today, and it is just that. An opinion.