Mourinho: Ronaldo is 'the best player in the universe'

Real Madrid coach says Portuguese winger's achievements exceed those of rival Messi

It would be a crime if Cristiano Ronaldo lost out to Lionel Messi for the 2012 Ballon d'Or, his Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said yesterday.

Mourinho hit back at remarks by Barcelona's coach, Tito Vilanova, last weekend that Messi, who has won the award for the past three years in a row, was "the best player in the world by a long way".

"When someone with the same responsibility as me comes out and says: 'Mine is the best on the planet' then I have to say: mine was not born in Madeira, he was born on Mars; he is not from planet Earth, he is the best in the universe," Mourinho told Portuguese daily A Bola. "If Messi is the best on the planet, Ronaldo is the best in the universe. It would be a crime if Ronaldo did not win the Ballon d'Or."

Ronaldo won the award in 2008 and Mourinho said it was time to recognise him again. "If you are going to give out the Ballon d'Or because a player is the best, give it to Cristiano or Messi. But I ask: if the two are on the same level, is it normal that one wins four and the other one? It is not."

In last Sunday's 2-2 Primera Liga draw at the Nou Camp, Ronaldo became the first player to score in six consecutive Clasicos with his ninth and 10th strikes on his 16th appearance against Barça. Mourinho said a player needed to win big titles to deserve the Ballon d'Or.

"How can you win the Ballon d'Or without collecting titles, without winning anything important? Don't come to me telling me about the Intercontinental Cup or the Super Cup, this is small stuff. Tell me about fat titles," Mourinho said.

The Portuguese coach said Ronaldo had had a tougher career than his Argentinian rival. "It is harder to be Cristiano than Messi. Messi grew up in the team where he plays, with the players with whom he plays. Not Cristiano. He was in England, then they put him here in a losing team. He had to grow over the last two years with this team which has been forming," Mourinho said.

"One [Messi] plays as a [number] nine and roams around in those 50 square metres where the distance to goal is smaller and defence less intense."

"The other [Ronaldo] plays as a winger. How does a winger score as many goals as a No 9? Besides, Ronaldo is a player who is not protected by anyone."

The Ballon d'Or, which merged with the World Player of the Year award in 2010, will be awarded on 7 January in Zurich.

Mourinho's successor as Chelsea manager, Carlo Ancelotti – now the manager at big-spending Paris Saint-Germain – yesterday came under fire from the Palermo president Maurizio Zamperini, who said Ancelotti knows nothing about football.

The outspoken Zamperini, who has a reputation for the outrageous and for sacking managers on a whim, was responding to suggestions during an interview that he had unloaded a flop on PSG when he sold them the Argentine midfielder Javier Pastore for €40m.

He quickly turned his ire on the Champions League-winning Ancelotti. "Pastore is not a flop, Pastore is a phenomenon. Ancelotti does not know anything about football," said Zamperini, who was four weeks into a self-imposed six-month media blackout when he made the outburst.

"And do you know what I say? I'm glad that they lost in the Champions League [1-0 away at Porto], and that hopefully he'll learn not to play Nene in place of Pastore. I don't rate him as a manager.

"Pastore is still a young lad of 23 years who has found himself surrounded by the wrong people, but he remains a phenomenon."

Ancelotti is a four-times winner of the European Cup, having won it twice as a Milan player and twice as the club's manager.

He has also won the Serie A title with Milan and, during his two-year spell with the European champions Chelsea, won the Premier League and FA Cup double before being sacked at the end of the second, trophyless, season at Stamford Bridge.

Zamperini's volatile relationship with coaches has earned him the nickname "Manager-eater" and he has fired 41 coaches since moving into football 26 years ago.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam