What EVERY one of Cristiano Ronaldo's managers has said about him

Sir Alex Ferguson called him the ‘most gifted’ player he ever worked with and Jose Mourinho says coaching him was the HIGHLIGHT of his career… what all of Cristiano Ronaldo’s club bosses have said about him after he became the leading scorer in history

  • Cristiano Ronaldo became the leading goalscorer in history on Wednesday night
  • The Juventus superstar netted the 760th goal of his career against Napoli 
  • Ronaldo, now 35, has been praised by the 10 club managers he’s played under
  • Sir Alex Ferguson says the Portugal legend is the ‘most gifted’ player he had
  • Ex-Real boss Carlo Ancelotti played down Ronaldo’s reputation for being vain
  • Jose Mourinho and Zinedine Zidane among the big names to have had their say 

Cristiano Ronaldo has made history once again by becoming football’s all-time leading goalscorer with the 760th strike of his illustrious career against Napoli.

The Juventus superstar hit the incredible milestone in the Italian Super Cup clash on Wednesday night as he continues to surpass the lavish praise he’s received from managers, fellow players and pundits over the years.

Here, Sportsmail recalls what Andrea Pirlo and Ronaldo’s former club bosses have had to say about one of the greatest players the game has ever seen.


Laszlo Boloni spotted Ronaldo in Sporting Lisbon’s youth ranks and promoted him to the B team at the age of 16, before handing him his first-team debut in 2002.  

Asked about his recollections of Ronaldo before he became a global superstar, Boloni told Marca last year: ‘I went to see the youth team and asked that he come along with the first team because he was in good physical condition, was really quick and had great technical ability.

‘None of this was a surprise. When I saw him in action, I decided that he wasn’t going to go back to playing with the youth team.’

‘He played and behaved like someone way beyond his years. In the dressing room he was a bit of a joker, but on the pitch he was exceptional.

Laszlo Boloni gave Ronaldo his big chance at Sporting Libson when he was just a teenager

‘To have the level of maturity that he did isn’t common for someone of 16 to 17 years of age.

‘I didn’t know that he was going to be one of the best ever, but I did know that, if he avoided injuries, he would be a very good player.’

‘At that time I was asked about him in an interview and I said that he would surpass [Luis] Figo and even Eusebio.

‘Comparing a young player to those two, who are considered Gods in Portugal, caused me some problems. Ronaldo, though, has proven that I was right all along.’


Despite almost joining the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal, Ronaldo ended up in the Premier League with Manchester United – and Sir Alex Ferguson as his manager.

The pair developed an almost father-son relationship and remain close to this day, with Ronaldo crediting the Scot for helping him become the best player in the world.

In his 2013 autobiography, Ferguson wrote: ‘Cristiano Ronaldo was the most gifted player I managed. He surpassed all the other great ones I coached at United. And I had many.

‘The only ones who could be placed near him would be a couple of the home-produced players, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, because they contributed so prodigiously to Manchester United for two decades.’

Ronaldo shakes hands with Sir Alex Ferguson after signing for Manchester United in 2003

Ferguson added: ‘We helped Ronaldo to be the player he was and he helped us recapture the excitement and self-expression of Manchester United teams.

‘What I always thought about Ronaldo was that, even if he was having a dire game, he would always create three chances. Every game. 

‘He possessed an unbelievable talent. I can place everything on that list: training performances, strength, courage, skill with either foot, heading ability.’ 

Once asked about the Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi debate, Ferguson said: ‘Well, Ronaldo’s got a better physique than Messi, he’s better in the air, he’s got two feet and he’s quicker.

‘In all the times I’m asked I find it impossible to say which is the better player because to relegate either to second place would feel wrong.’ 

The pair (pictured together at FIFA’s The Best awards back in 2017) remain close to this day


Manuel Pellegrini was the man in the Real Madrid dugout when president Florentino Perez paid Manchester United a then world record fee of £80million to sign Ronaldo in the summer of 2009.

Speaking about his former player in 2016, Pellegrini said: ‘I had no doubt that he would become what he is today.

‘One of the great things we did was to get 96 points in a campaign with Cristiano injured for three months. 

‘I think it [the Ballon d’Or] has to be between Cristiano and Messi because they are the only ones who have made a difference. You can’t compare them.’ 


Although they may not have always seen eye-to-eye, Jose Mourinho enjoyed three years with his compatriot at Real, winning one LaLiga title and a Copa del Rey.

Speaking about Ronaldo a few months after leaving the club in 2013, Mourinho told Portuguese paper A Bola: ‘Coaching [Ronaldo] was the highlight of my career.

‘He’s the most professional player I’ve ever met.

‘A coach and player may have their differences at a given time, but it ends there. I don’t have any problem. I had only one problem with him, very simple, very basic.

‘When a coach criticises a player from a tactical viewpoint trying to improve what in my view could have been improved.

‘And at this moment he didn’t take it very well because maybe he thinks he knows everything and the coach cannot help him to develop anymore.’

Jose Mourinho and Ronaldo embrace each other as they celebrate winning LaLiga in 2013


After a tense relationship with Mourinho, Ronaldo loved the two years he spent under the more relaxed Carlo Ancelotti.

The Portugal star has since revealed that he would love to work under the Everton boss again, and the mutual respect between the pair remains strong.

Speaking about his former player in 2016, Ancelotti told The Telegraph: ‘You see a different kind of Cristiano Ronaldo when you are the manager of his team.

‘The rest of the world has become obsessed with the image and the look of the man, or how he celebrates when he scores, or how he reacts when things go wrong. I just saw a guy who always wanted to do his best.

‘First of all, I never once saw him in front of the dressing-room mirror or worrying about how he looked. For Cristiano the priority was always to win.

‘There were a lot of strong guys in that Real Madrid dressing room – it was a basic requirement of being at the club that you needed a big personality.’

Carlo Ancelotti congratulates Ronaldo after a Real Madrid win over Elche in February, 2015


Speculation was rife during Rafa Benitez’s brief, six-month spell in charge at Madrid that he and Ronaldo had a difficult relationship, with reports claiming the former Manchester United man was unhappy with training under the Spaniard.

Both men refuted those allegations at the time and, despite his Bernabeu reign being cut short, Benitez maintains that he enjoyed working with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Speaking last year, the former Liverpool boss told Gazzetta dello Sport: ‘Ronaldo is a professional player, a champion. He is very competitive and he used to do what I told him.

‘He had to begin the pressing, it was all about finding a good balance with his team-mates. 

‘It’s not true it ended up badly, one week after I left Madrid he was speaking with respect about our work.’


Ronaldo’s final manager at Real Madrid was legendary former player Zinedine Zidane, who helped him end his time in Spain with another LaLiga title and back-to-back Champions League trophies.

Speaking about the Portuguese the year after his departure, Zidane said: ‘It is impossible to replace Cristiano, it does not matter who you sign.

‘He has left the club and you can sign quality players but they will not achieve what he did at this club, but that is football.’ 

And when asked who was the bigger star out of him and Ronaldo in 2017, the World Cup winner admitted: ‘Ronaldo, no doubt. He scores goals and that’s most important.

‘I used to play quite well but scoring goals was not my speciality. I was better at assists. I scored some important goals but not many.

‘He’s a good person. He worries about the others. I would like to insist that what’s important is what he does professionally. He always wants more. 

‘Even in a training session he wants to win. What he offers us is that he always wants to win. He has something inside. He is a born leader, especially on the pitch.’

Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo are all smiles after winning the Champions League final in 2018


Massimiliano Allegri was the man in charge of Juventus when Ronaldo made a shock £100m switch to Turin in the summer of 2018.

He worked with him for just a season before leaving the club, but was still at least partly responsible for Ronaldo’s first trophy in Juve colours, having won the Serie A title before departing.

In 2019, Allegri said: ‘Ronaldo’s strength is mental: he’s 34 years old, he’s won the Champions League, Championships and Ballon d’Ors, yet he continues to give himself important stimuli, which make the difference.

‘Technique is crucial to stay at high levels for many years, but the difference is made by the head and professionalism.

‘Would I prefer to coach Ronaldo or a young talent? Ronaldo, without a doubt.’

The Italian reiterated those comments in an interview with The Times last December, saying: ‘I had a lot of strong players, with strong mentality.

‘Defenders like (Giorgio) Chiellini and (Alessandro) Nesta, midfielders like (Gennaro) Gattuso and (Clarence) Seedorf and strikers like (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic and (Cristiano) Ronaldo.

‘Ronaldo is the top player for mentality. Ronaldo has a different head to everyone. He’s won five Ballons d’Or, five Champions Leagues and one European Championship for Portugal, and that is so difficult, and it’s always him being the difference. Every year he has a new objective.’

Massimiliano Allegri and Ronaldo celebrate together after winning the Serie A title in 2019


Ronaldo’s second manager at Juve also lasted for just a season, with Maurizio Sarri getting the boot last summer despite winning the title again.

Reports in Italy suggested the pair did not always get on and that the forward was not unhappy to see his manager axed.

Sarri was certainly not afraid to criticise Ronaldo, saying last June: ‘He’s in the same shape as the others, like Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa, he is lacking the sharpness to do what works best for him.

‘I didn’t say much to the players after the game. I was angry and disappointed just like them, so at these moments it’s best to stay silent. We’ll talk better tomorrow morning.’

The former Chelsea boss had some nicer words for the 35-year-old after Juventus sealed the title last season, however. ‘I think it’s just in his DNA, his ability to project himself on to the next goal, every time,’ he said.

‘His mental and physical recovery rate is definitely unique.’ 

Italian Maurizio Sarri worked with Ronaldo for just a season at Juventus before he was sacked


After working with Zidane and Ancelotti previously, Ronaldo now finds himself under the tutelage of another legendary midfielder in Andrea Pirlo.

Pirlo was a surprise choice to replace Sarri last summer and appears to be relishing the opportunity to work with the former Real star, despite Juve’s inconsistent form in the first half of the season.

The Italian was full of praise for Ronaldo after his brace against Cagliari last November, telling DAZN: ‘He is a great professional, as we already knew.

‘He is a real champion and sets the example for everyone around him, both in the matches and in training.

‘The only advice I can give him is to keep going in the same way. We have to keep our young man like this.

‘He gave me great availability in training, in games, for anything. His goals and goals. His talents are not natural, we are lucky that he plays at Juventus.’

Pirlo also backed Ronaldo after a costly penalty miss against Atalanta last month, saying: ‘It was not an easy game but he did well.

‘If he scored his penalty some judgments would have changed.

‘He did what he had to, maybe not brilliant as usual but he is a champion and champions miss penalties too.’

Ronaldo is now playing under legendary former Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo at Juventus

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