Brazil's Ronaldo hails Mourinho

AFP, Saturday 2 Apr 2011

Brazil legend Ronaldo, who announced his retirement from football in February, said he would love to be playing under his 'good friend' Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid


The 34-year-old is to be honoured later on Saturday by his former side Real at the club's home match against Sporting Gijon.

He will take the honorary kick-off prior to the match and will be given a replica of a statue that sits on front of the team's dressing room.

Ronaldo joined Real from Inter Milan in 2002. He won two league titles, one Intercontinental Cup and one Spanish Super Cup with the club before being sold to AC Milan in January 2007. He also played for Barcelona in 1996-97.

Asked in an interview with sports daily AS which team he would like to play for now if he had the chance, he said "they are both very good!

"But as I spent more time with Madrid I would choose Mourinho. I would love to play on this team of Mourinho, but my time has passed," he said in the interview published Saturday.

He described Real's Portuguese coach as a "great person, a good friend."

"I could not have imagined the great journey he would have. But I saw the great capacity for leadership that Mourinho had, very quietly and with great ability to make decisions."

He said being honoured at the Bernabeu stadium would be "beautiful."

"I miss being at Madrid and walking into the Bernabeu will be emotional...I have great memories: Sunday at the Bernabeu, the fans, winning the league.

"I also remember sad things, like when we were eliminated by Juventus in the semifinals of the Champions League one season when we were playing quite well."

Ronaldo announced his definitive retirement from competitive football during an emotional press conference on 14 February, citing fatigue and a hypothyroid problem which played havoc with his weight.

He will bid his final farewell to football in a friendly against Romania in Sao Paulo on 7 June.

Ronaldo is the highest goal scorer in the history of the World Cup - 15 in total, one more than German player Gerd Muller.

He is one of only two players to win the Fifa Player of the Year award three times, the other being France's Zinedine Zidane who also played for Real.

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