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‘Ronaldo will be scoring in legend games when he’s 50!’ – Mourinho salutes Portuguese ‘phenomenon’

11:20 BST 12/09/2019
Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus 2019-20
The former Real Madrid and Manchester United boss has hailed the qualities of a fellow countryman, with his goal-getting exploits expected to continue

Jose Mourinho has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as a “phenomenon” and tipped his fellow Portuguese to continue scoring goals until he is 50.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has proved himself to be one of the best of all-time when it comes to hitting the back of the net.

His most recent outing saw him add another four efforts to a remarkable tally for his country, with the 34-year-old now up to 93 goals in 160 appearances.

Ronaldo has also surged past 600 at club level, over the course of a stunning career, and is showing no sign of slowing down.

Mourinho believes an illustrious countryman will never lose that hunger, with a modern day legend set to continue terrorising defenders long after he walks away from a competitive stage.

"What Cristiano does does not surprise me," Mourinho told Canal 11.

"At 34, he is a top player, who plays in a top team and has top ambitions.

"It does not surprise me because he is a case study in genetic terms, and mentality as well.

"He is a phenomenon, someone who only thinks about winning and doing it more and more and better. That is why I am not surprised at all what he does.

"When he is 50 years old he will be at home and FIFA will invite him to a game of legends. He will play the game and score a goal. I am sure it will be like that."

Mourinho has spent time working with Ronaldo in the past, with the former Chelsea and Manchester United coach taking in a three-year spell with Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013 when the record-setting Blancos icon was at the peak of his powers.

Mourinho considers his time at the Santiago Bernabeu to be the most enjoyable of a trophy-laden coaching career which has taken him from Portugal to England via Italy and Spain.

He added: "Real Madrid was my best experience because of what I learned as a coach as a man and for the lessons that I took in my career and in my life.

"It is the best memory of my career, it was fantastic."

Mourinho found a role in Madrid to be the perfect fit for him because he was charged with the task of knocking Barcelona from their lofty perch in La Liga.

He delivered on that remit, with a Copa del Rey triumph in 2010-11 setting the tone.

Mourinho said: "What they asked me at Real Madrid suited my nature.

"They told me the best team in Spain was from the other side, that they were crushing us and we had to reverse the situation.

"We had to prevent Barca from crushing us and that's why the Mestalla Cup final is the most important [trophy I won].

"From there nothing was the same. We won the League, the Super Cup, but nothing was like the Cup final and I unfortunately failed to win the three Champions [League] semi-finals."