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CRISTIANO RONALDO

Jose Mourinho criticizes ‘know-it-all’ Ronaldo

Former Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has taken a parting shot at his old team's biggest star Cristiano Ronaldo, saying the striker thought he knew it all.

Jose Mourinho criticizes 'know-it-all' Ronaldo
Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo during a training session for Portugal's upcoming World Cup qualifier against Russia. Photo: Francisco Leong/AFP

Mourinho, who is returning to Chelsea next season after three divisive years at the Santiago Bernabeu, was asked why relations between the two Portuguese compatriots had deteriorated.

"Cristiano had three fantastic seasons with me, all of them," the 50-year-old Mourinho told Spanish television Intereconomia's sports programme Punto Pelota in a recorded interview released Wednesday.

"I think we found a fantastic tactical situation for him to express his potential in goals," he said of the 28-year-old.

"I had one problem with him, very simple, very basic, and it was as a coach to criticize him from a tactical point of view, trying to improve what I believed could be improved," Mourinho added.

"He did not accept it very well because he thinks probably that he knows it all and the coach cannot help him to grow more."

The Portuguese coach had more barbs for 30-year-old defender Pepe, who apparently irked his boss by coming to the defence of Real Madrid's benched keeper Iker Casillas.

Mourinho claimed he was responsible for keeping Pepe at Madrid and fighting for him to get a good contract.

But he said Pepe had reacted badly to competition from 20-year-old French player Raphael Varane, who snatched his place in the Real starting line-up.

"A kid who was 10, 12, or 13 years younger than him started to play, but a kid who in my opinion deserved to play. And I think he did not assimilate or accept that situation well," Mourinho said.

Suddenly, all the critics of Pepe's aggressive playing style had become his defenders, the  coach said. "From one moment to the next, they all went to his side and defended him to the hilt."

Mourinho, who returned Monday to the London club he previously coached from 2004 to 2007, had a positive review of his own role in Madrid.

"If you ask me if I would go to Real again knowing what has happened in the last three years then I say that I would do so. Because if I had not come I would not be able to say that I had won the three most important championships of the world," he said, referring to the  titles he picked up with Chelsea, Inter Milan, and then with Real Madrid in the 2011/12 season.

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FOOTBALL

Ronaldo presents fifth Ballon d’Or to Bernabeu

Cristiano Ronaldo paraded his record-equalling fifth Ballon d'Or to an adoring Santiago Bernabeu before Real Madrid's clash with Sevilla on Saturday.

Ronaldo presents fifth Ballon d'Or to Bernabeu
Photo: AFP

Ronaldo pulled level on Thursday with Barcelona rival Lionel Messi as the only two men to have won the annual award for the best player in the world five times.

It is the fourth time in five years Ronaldo has beaten Messi to the prize. This time he did it on the back of Madrid's feat of becoming the first side to retain the Champions League since 1990.

And the 85,000 crowd at the Bernabeu serenaded the Portuguese with chants of “Cristiano, Ballon d'Or” as he posed for photos with all five of his golden ball trophies.

A total of seven Madrid players were included in the top 30 for the prestigious award handed out by France Football magazine.

However, Real had to cope on Saturday without suspended captain Sergio Ramos, who came sixth in the voting, among a host of defensive absences as they strove to move to within five points of Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

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