Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho, a partnership built upon the desire to win at all costs and moving a few decimal points around?, but not much else; in fact, the pair pretty much can’t stand one another – “there’s only room for one gay in the village”.
During Mourinho’s time as Real Madrid, we were treated to the wonderful situation that pitted Real Madrid and Barcelona against one another, four times in just 50 days, as the titans met in the Copa Del Rey final, Champions League semi-final and La Liga.
Come the end of this mini league, Barcelona were smiling; a draw in the league, a Copa Del Rey final defeat but the Catalans overcame Los Blancos in the Champions League and went on to win the most prestigious club tournament.
With the likes of Pepe, Mourinho and Sergio Ramos, things, of course, didn’t go smoothly and there were several high-profile incidents. However, one scenario that arose isn’t so well documented, and it’s what happened in the Real Madrid dressing room moments before the second-leg of the Champions League semi-final.
According to Diego Torres’ book on Ronaldo, Mourinho gave CR7 a public dressing down…
“You! Cristiano! Come here, I’ve got something to tell you. I’ll say it to your face: you complain that we play defensively here. But do you know why that is? It’s your fault. As you don’t want to close down the wings, I have to push the team further back.
“You got angry because I didn’t play you in Bilbao, because when you go out there, you do your own thing. You want to achieve your personal goals. Maybe the guilty one is me, for allowing you to.
“You’re in your own world. You go to the press and instead of doing what you should, you criticise us because we’re defensive. Do you know what you should’ve done? Criticise the referee, think about me and the team…I have to love you because you’re my brother’s brother and when someone is your brother’s brother, he’s your brother too.
“But the other day, you went and criticised my tactics instead of doing as I told you. You criticised me! You don’t respect your teammates. You watch them run. You watch how Pepe and Lass run and you raise your hands complaining if the ball doesn’t reach you! You could be a better teammate and go to the press conference to speak ill of the referee instead of raising your hands!
“I’ve invented a formation just for you, so that you’re comfortable, don’t have to run and can score goals! We play like this because of you! If I put you on Alves, you’ll let him get away from you…And what? Do you think Di Maria is a lesser player than you.”
Now, and for those of you who regularly read my work – Hi, Mum – this is a big thing for me to say; I have a lot of respect for Mourinho for doing so.
Ronaldo is clearly someone who needs to be mollycoddled, however, as Sir Alex Ferguson found out, too much TLC ends up with the Portugal captain walking all over you and calling the shots.
CR7, of course, reacted badly:
“Ronaldo reacted angrily, spouting many expletives including: That son of a bitch has taken me to the cleaners!”
Naturally, you just know that nothing changed in Ronaldo’s approach to that game. And although Jose was spot on in his character assassination, whilst CR7 keeps scoring the world will keep revolving around him (or at least it will in his head).