Jose Mourinho has claimed Brazil icon Ronaldo is the greatest player he has ever witnessed on the field of play.
Often dubbed ‘O Fenomeno’ by supporters, the striker twice broke the world-record transfer fee before his 21st birthday, having initially moved to Europe in 1994 after agreeing to join PSV Eindhoven from Cruzeiro. He swiftly moved on, switching to Barcelona two years later in a £16m deal, only to leave Catalonia for Inter after just a single season at the Nou Camp.
Aside from Ronaldo’s tally of 13 trophies with various clubs – including Real Madrid and the aforementioned trio – the forward collected numerous individual honours, with a brace of Ballon d’Or victories standing as one of his finest achievements in the game.
During an interview with LiveScore, Mourinho took time to discuss the best footballers he’d seen in his lifetime. Asked which of them stood out amongst the rest, the 56-year-old replied (as quoted by Marca): “Ronaldo, the phenomenon.
“When he was in Barcelona with Bobby Robson, I realised that he was the strongest player ever seen on the field.”
Ronaldo reached over 400 career goals, despite his career being hampered by injuries. Knee issues began to plague the double world champion during his time at Inter in 1999, with fitness problems seeing him miss the entirety of the 2000/01 campaign.
Mourinho took those struggles into account when making his decision, explaining: “The injuries killed a race that could have been even more incredible.
“But, the talent that this 19-year-old boy had was something incredible. In 1997 there is a Barcelona final against Paris Saint-Germain in Rotterdam and goal of Ronaldo, 1-0. Awesome.”