Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo

Jose Mourinho is one of the more famous managers in soccer history, and he recently told reporters who the thinks the best players in history are.

“For me the top three players in history are Messi, Pele and Maradona,” Mourinho said via Express.

One player notably absent from that list? Cristiano Ronaldo. Both Mourinho and Ronaldo are from Portugal. To make matters more interesting, Mourinho coached Ronaldo for three years at Real Madrid from 2010 to 2013 and witnessed Ronaldo win the Ballon d’Or in 2013.

At the time, Mourinho had a different opinion on Ronaldo’s place on the all-time list.

“He is the best. The best in the world, yes. Probably the best ever,” Mourinho said in 2013 about Ronaldo from the Mirror. “I saw Maradona a couple of times. I never saw Pele. But Cristiano is amazing. This man is the best.”

This begs the question of what has made Mourinho change his mind? Over the last month, Messi and Argentina lost to Chile in the Copa America Final while Ronaldo and Portugal defeated France in the Euro 2016 championship.

As for club level achievements, since Mourinho left Ronaldo and Real Madrid in 2013, Real Madrid has won the Champions League twice once. Meanwhile Messi and FC Barcelona have won the Champions League just once, though they have won a pair of La Liga championships and also claimed the Copa del Rey twice, compared to zero league and one cup win for Real.

While their team accomplishments shouldn’t affect their standing in the all-time rankings, it’s hard to ignore Ronaldo has had a much better three years than Messi since Mourinho left Real Madrid in 2013.

There’s no major tournament approaching or reason why Mourinho would make these comments now, but they are still interesting.

[Fox Sports]

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.