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06th Jan 2017

Jose Mourinho fails to mention the best player he’s coached when asked for a ‘Mourinho XI’

Does this explain why?

Robert Redmond

Jose Mourinho doesn’t like combined XIs.

Mourinho was asked to select a team of the best players he coached in his career, and refused to do so.

The Manchester United manager said it would be too difficult to just select one player for each position, and unfair on those he has coached.

“It’s an answer that I’ve always refused to give and will continue to,” Mourinho told FIFA’s official website.

“So many players gave their blood and soul when they played for me, how can I name some and forget others? Vitor Baia, Petr Cech, Julio Cesar… how can I choose just one?

“Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Marco Materazzi, Lucio, Walter Samuel, John Terry… how can I choose one?

“Michael Essien, Wesley Sneijder, Nemanja Matic, Costinha, Maniche, Xabi Alonso, Frank Lampard … how can I choose one?

“I don’t think I will ever answer that question because I’ll never forget my brothers in arms.”

Mourinho has coached some excellent players at Porto, Chelsea, Real Madrid and United, and it would be a difficult task to select an XI.

However, we can’t but feel that, when mentioning the great players he has coached, he forgot to mention arguably the best of the lot – Cristiano Ronaldo.

Mourinho worked with Ronaldo at Madrid between 2010 and 2013. The pair won the Spanish league title in 2012, but the relationship between Mourinho and the Madrid dressing room turned sour in his final season at the club.

Guillem Balague, in a biography of Ronaldo, also detailed a bust-up between the pair following a game in 2013. Ronaldo was said to be so enraged by his manager that he had to be held back from hitting him.

Mourinho demanded Ronaldo tracked back. The Madrid forward didn’t like that.

“After everything I’ve done for you, this is how you treat me! How dare you say that to me?!”

Mourinho said he was speaking on behalf of the players, who didn’t have the courage to tell him directly that he needed to help the team more.

“The situation escalated to the point where Cristiano had to be held back (some sources say by Casillas, others say by Arbeloa and Khedira, or even Sergio Ramos) to prevent the pair from coming to blows.

“Ronaldo took what should have been understood as a tactical comment as a personal attack. The relationship between Mourinho and Ronaldo would never be the same again.”

Xabi Alonso is the only player Mourinho coached exclusively at Madrid to get a mention, (Michael Essien played for Mourinho at Chelsea and Madrid. Ricardo Carvalho played for him at Porto, Chelsea and Madrid).

Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos don’t get a mention. Neither does Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and he enjoys a strong relationship with Mourinho, so it’s possible that we’re reading into this too much.

Even so, you’d still imagine that Ronaldo would be among the first players mentioned when discussing the great players Mourinho has coached.