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Ronaldo v Mourinho: A decade of highs and lows in quotes

June 20, 2017 3:01 PM
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Ronaldo v Mourinho: A decade of highs and lows in quotes

With Cristiano Ronaldo's future suddenly in the balance, it remains to be seen if he will leave Real Madrid this summer.

His old club Manchester United have been touted as a possible destination, which in turn would see him reunited with his former manager at the Bernabeu, Jose Mourinho.

Spending three years together there between 2010 and 2013, their relationship was often turbulent and ended in apparent animosity when Mourinho moved on.

Skysports.com's Andrew Dickson looks back at a decade of ups and downs between the two from before, during and after their time with one another in the Spanish capital.

Long before their paths first crossed, Ronaldo and Mourinho had very different upbringings in their native Portugal.

While the man who would later manage the country's biggest two clubs Benfica and Porto came from a middle-class family, the same could not be said of his compatriot.

Indeed, the fact Ronaldo's childhood was an impoverished one on the island of Madeira was the subject of one of the first verbal jousts between the two in 2007.

With Ronaldo - then at United - helping his team win the Premier League by six points from Chelsea, he claimed Mourinho "does not know how to admit his own failures".

The Stamford Bridge coach responded first by calling the player a liar then gave a barbed view on comments Sir Alex Ferguson made in relation to the row.

He said: "It's a game where a kid had some statements not very… not showing maturity and respect, maybe difficult childhood, no education, maybe the consequence of that.

"Sir Alex felt he had to protect his boy. But normal things… I have no problems with him (Ferguson). I have no problem with the boy."

Having won the Champions League at the Bernabeu only days earlier with Inter, Mourinho moved to Real in May 2010.

Much of his first campaign in charge passed off without major conflict - but there were rumblings of unrest as the season drew to a conclusion.

Having beaten Barcelona 1-0 in the final of the Copa del Rey a week earlier - with Ronaldo heading the winner in Valencia - they hosted the Nou Camp side in the Champions League semi-finals.

Mourinho adopted a defensive approach but his plan failed, a Lionel Messi double putting the visitors in command ahead of the return game.

Ronaldo was not pleased and asked if he liked the kind of football Real played, he said: "No, I don't but I have to adapt to what is asked of me. This is the way it is. We have a strategy."

He paid for speaking out and was dropped for the next league game, a 3-2 home defeat to Real Zaragoza, although he did start the other five remaining matches.

While the pair were starting to have differences in opinions, they needed each other in order to be successful and both appeared to recognise that.

Sharing the same agent in Jorge Mendes, he acted to bring them on to a wavelength and succeeded in getting them to offer each other their backing publicly at various points.

That undoubtedly made for a less bumpy ride but did not smooth the road entirely and mediation only went so far.

In fact, Mendes' presence as a common denominator almost appeared to burden Mourinho, who at times seemed like feeling an obligation to make a relationship with Ronaldo work.

He once said: "I have to look after you because you're my brother's brother - and when someone is their brother's brother, that makes them a brother as well."

Mourinho's second term at Real saw his team win the title by nine points from Barcelona, a feat made all the more spectacular by their final haul of 100 points.

As good as that was, the way things unravelled the following season was just as notable as a 24-point swing meant the La Liga trophy went to Catalonia instead.

Inevitably, relations between Real's two volatile Portuguese icons disintegrated and the closer they approached the season's end, the worse it got.

After scoring in their first league win of 2012/13 at the third attempt against Granada, Ronaldo did not celebrate.

Asked why afterwards, he described the squad's mood as "sad", something Mourinho would remember as he pointedly used the same word near the end of a disastrous campaign.

By then, he and Ronaldo had clashed after a 2-0 Copa del Rey win against Valencia in mid-January, when the manager had expressed his anger at the player not tracking back.

Sky Sports' Spanish football expert Guillem Balague later claimed in his 2015 biography of Ronaldo they almost came to blows, with the Portugal international having to be held back.

He is understood to have said: "After everything I've done for you, this is how you treat me? How dare you say that to me!"

With their relationship at breaking point, Ronaldo's response to a question about Mourinho's future at Real was telling: "It doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is my future and the club."

Ronaldo scored his 200th goal for Real in a 6-2 win over Malaga in May 2013. Mourinho's time would be up before the month was out and the player's reaction again told a story.

The manager had criticised him before the match and Ronaldo responded after his strike by shouting an obscenity at his coach.

Pointing to the ground, he also yelled: "I'm here, I'm here". The suggestion was he did his talking on the pitch rather than off it.

The parting image of the pair summed up where they had got to. Before Mourinho's last match in charge, a photograph showed them both in the tunnel, steadfastly avoiding eye contact.

It was an unquestionably acrimonious split - and it looked certain they would never work together in football again.

At first, Mourinho used an appearance on Spanish television to express the issues he had with Ronaldo.

He said: "I had only one problem with him, very simple, very basic, which was when a coach criticises a player from a tactical viewpoint trying to improve what, in my view, could have been improved.

"At that moment, he didn't take it very well because maybe he thinks he knows everything and the coach cannot help him develop further."

Soon after, Mourinho's second spell at Chelsea was announced and asked about Ronaldo again, he dismissed the notion of a link between them - yet also seemed to be thawing.

He said: "The relationship does not exist. He plays for Real Madrid and I'm at Chelsea. You would not find us hanging around together.

"I remember the good and the not so good. I remember he is a goal machine, he helped me to become a champion, to win the cup and the Super Cup.

"He probably also helped him and each of us to make history in winning the league with 100 points against the best Barcelona side in history.

"Cristiano gives me great memories and I wish him all the best in his career, for his country and his club."

With time came a more favourable view - first: "Ronaldo's an incredible player. It's like Zidane for the French, there will be no other. He is incredible, he's a goalscoring machine."

And then: "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."

Did those words come with help from Mendes or simply because Mourinho no longer had the intensity dealing with Ronaldo brought him?

Whatever the reason, the perception was the rift was healing from both sides, with Ronaldo saying: "Work with Mourinho again? Why not?"

He later described Mourinho as the best manager he has ever worked with - more than father figure Ferguson - adding: "I would put him at the top, I always say that."

In 2015, Ronaldo refused to rule out a return to Old Trafford in an interview with Sky Sports News HQ.

Before this month's Champions League final win over Juventus in Cardiff, he said: "I'm very happy in Spain but obviously I also miss England because you can't just turn off the memories."

Tensions do still linger though. Mourinho criticised Ronaldo's actions after he came off injured in the Euro 2016 final but proceeded to prowl the touchline barking orders for the rest of the game.

He told Portuguese channel SporTV: "Cristiano Ronaldo didn't help in any way by doing that. There were 11 players on the pitch and the person in charge of directing them was the coach.

"What my experience tells me is that it is in these moments, when important decisions might need to be made, the players are lost in their own little worlds."

Source: skysports.com

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