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Mar 5, 2013

Mourinho hails 'best ever' Ronaldo

Jose Mourinho has lauded Cristiano Ronaldo as the world's "best ever" footballer, insisting he has created more of a legacy than South American greats Diego Maradona and Pele.

• Mourinho: Real will attack United
• Hunter: Real must peak
• Fergie doesn't fear Ronaldo

Ronaldo, 28, was awarded the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2008, but Mourinho claims the Portugal international has surpassed some of the biggest names of the last two centuries.

The Real Madrid winger was the topic of conversation ahead of Los Blancos' Champions League round of 16 clash with Manchester United on Tuesday, with Mourinho insisting he hopes to never be tasked with the "problem" of containing Ronaldo.

"To be my team, nothing else," he told ITV Sport when asked what Real must do to progress to the quarter finals. "If we are my team, we will win.

"How do United stop Cristiano Ronaldo? That's not my problem. It's never a problem - I never want to stop Ronaldo. It's their problem. He is the best. The best in the world, yes. Probably the best ever.

"I saw Maradona a couple of times. I never saw Pele. But Cristiano is amazing. This man is the best. But even he can't win it on his own. The key is the team and the team needs balance and people doing different tasks. At this level, if somebody fails, we have no chance.

"We never say Cristiano is responsible when we lose a match and we can't think he is the only one who wins it. Without the team he is nothing but the team without him is not the same."

Mourinho was also asked about the possibility of leaving the Bernabeu to return to the Premier League in the summer.

"Yes, England is probably my next job," he added. "But when, I have no idea. It might not be this summer. I don't know.

"I don't think about my future. My future is not important, especially before a match of this dimension. I want to do everything to help Real win it. I want to enjoy every minute of this match."

The particular focus of speculation linking Mourinho with a second stint in England is his ability to replace Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United boss when the Scot retires.

In an interview with former Manchester United striker Paddy Crerand for the club channel, Mourinho avoided the assertion that he will no longer have to pay for a subscription to the MUTV because he could become a United employee.

Crerand said the only people who did not pay the £6 monthly fee were those who worked at the club and Mourinho replied: "There is no chance, I have to pay."

Crerand then said: "You never know, one day?" in a subtle way of asking Mourinho whether he is considering succeeding Ferguson.

Once again, a coy Mourinho added: "One day? Nah, I don't think so." Crerand persisted by saying: "You never know? Life is strange", although Mourinho quickly changed the subject after claiming: "You never know, but I don't think so."

Ferguson has remained as ambiguous as Mourinho when quizzed about his future at the club and he was once again despondent as Mourinho was once again touted as his replacement.

"You get this question all the time and I can't answer it because I am still the manager here," Ferguson said. "I hope I am still the manager tomorrow. It is impossible to discuss who is going to replace me because there is no timescale to it."

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