"I’ll be honest with you: I like people who have a winning mentality," he replies. "But I am very happy with Pellegrini’s achievements and that’s all I have to say for now."
A few weeks later, rumours are circulating in the ‘White House’ that Mourinho is set to become the new Real coach. Sky Sports News is reporting the story as if it’s a done deal. "He’s a very special coach," comments Ronaldo. "He has demonstrated that he is one of the best in the world. Perhaps some people don’t like his personality, or the fact that he is so revered. I know him very well, and I like what I see. I know his character: he’s a winner."
When asked whether he would like Mourinho to win the Champions League with Inter and then come to Real, he replies: "This is not the time to discuss the matter. Right now I am only interested in having a good World Cup with Portugal, not what is happening with transfers or the future of Real’s managerial position. I would just like to wish him luck in the Champions League ﬁnal. He’s a fellow Portuguese sportsman, that’s why I want him to win."
On 22 May, Mourinho’s Inter lifts the trophy at the Santiago Bernabeu after beating Bayern Munich 2-0. Four days later, Florentino Perez announces Manuel Pellegrini’s dismissal and conﬁrms the addition of Jose Mourinho to the Real Madrid dugout.
Meanwhile, the man in question is busy singing Ronaldo’s praises in an interview with Marca. "Cristiano is phenomenal. No one should complain if he wants to spend his vacation with Paris Hilton, go to Los Angeles or buy himself a Ferrari. Someone who works as hard as he does is on another level professionally. He is football history in the making. All he needs to do in order to be like Pele, Maradona or Di Stefano is win more titles."
|Ronaldo is on another level professionally. He is football history in the making. All he needs to do to be like Pele, Maradona or Di Stefano is win more titles|
It’s clear that Mou knows his future player very well. He has known Cristiano since the latter was a teenager at Sporting Lisbon.
"It was in a game against Uniao Desportiva de Leiria," Mourinho recalls. "We were going to train afterwards, so we stayed to watch the match. Then he walked past, and I said to my assistant, 'There goes Van Basten’s son.' He was a striker, his movements were very elegant and he had great technical skills. He reminded me of the Dutchman. It’s strange … I didn’t know his name, but I have to admit that he astonished all of us because he stood out much more than anyone else on the team."
Since that ﬁrst day, their paths have crossed many times.
- Luca Caioli's book, Ronaldo: The Obsession for Perfection, is published by Corinthian Books and is out now. Order a UK copy here! Order a USA copy here!
With every extract published, Goal.com will be giving away one copy of Luca Caoili's new book. To have a chance of winning an ebook or hard copy of Ronaldo: The Obsession for Perfection, answer the following question: Which Portuguese agent represents both Cristiano and Mourinho? Send answers to email@example.com - the winner will be announced in next Friday's extract.
Last week's winner: Nadine Miranda