The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss believes that every football supporter would love to see the duo go head-to-head in a European final
Jose Mourinho still believes that a Champions League final between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo is a possibility.
Barcelona and Juventus were among the favourites for the trophy in 2018-19 but were knocked out by Liverpool and Ajax, respectively.
The Portuguese coach feels that, despite the pair’s advanced years, they are still performing at the highest level and could meet in the showpiece event of Europe’s premier club competition before their careers end.
“First of all, I think it’s a frustration for all those who like football to never have had a [Champions League] final between the two [Messi and Ronaldo],” Mourinho told Eleven Sports.
“It was almost real many times, but it never happened. I always thought that it would be a big injustice to them, in the sense that everything would be centred on them and that one would come out holding on to the big ears cup and the other would come out with his head down.
“I always thought it would be a great injustice to have a duel between the titans of the two best players in the world in the last decade, for one of them to bow to the weight of defeat. That’s why it’s probably a good thing it never happened.
“Can it still happen? It could still happen. They’re both in clubs that want to win. They don’t hide that they want to win themselves. Of course it can happen. I’m perfectly watching Cristiano, with his 34, I think, playing at the highest level as long as he wants.”
Mourinho commented on Ronaldo’s continued success at the top level and put it down to his mentality and desire to win.
“I think it’s fundamentally in his head, in his nature, in his DNA. Ambition, motivation, personal pride are things you can’t buy. They are things that are objectively born with people and I think it will be like this until it’s over. There are players who are really special and who from a mental point of view are flawless.”
The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss also feels that Mohamed Salah, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are all candidates to take over the mantle of ‘best in the world’ when Messi and Ronaldo eventually retire.
“[Salah, Mbappe and Neymar] are three strong names. Unequivocally three important names who are there waiting to see what happens to the monsters. The other day I was asked a question similar to yours and I said that it has to be a winner.
“A golden boot, the best player in the world, has to be a winner. This thing with a lot of quality, a lot of talent, no titles, it doesn’t work. Right now, if Juventus had won the Champions League, we were saying that Ronaldo will win the [Golden] ball.
“If Barcelona had won the Champions League, they would have won the Spanish championship, now they’re going to the Copa America, the golden ball for Messi. Because they’ve been removed from the European football championship, we’re already talking about who could win, because they can’t. That’s why I always say, always sustaining victories and important victories.”
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