Thursday 22 March 2018

Mourinho won’t fan flames of Ronaldo rumours

Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer Ronaldo has once more being linked with United, the club he left in 2009.

Jose Mourinho is concerned by Real Madrid's recent form
Jose Mourinho is concerned by Real Madrid's recent form

By Liam Blackburn, Press Association Sport

Jose Mourinho claims his former club Real Madrid are “on fire” but does not think their recent struggles will ensure he can bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United.

In the week United completed a swap deal with Arsenal to make Alexis Sanchez their new number seven, Ronaldo, a previous owner of that shirt, was again linked with an Old Trafford return amid rumours Real are preparing to try to sign Paris St Germain’s Neymar.

Real went out of the Copa del Rey to Leganes on Wednesday and Zinedine Zidane’s men trail LaLiga leaders Barcelona by 19 points.

Their current rut has not escaped Mourinho, who spent three years in charge of the team, but he feels that bringing Real’s all-time leading scorer Ronaldo back to Manchester following his departure in 2009 remains unlikely.

Jose Mourinho, left, managed Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid (Stephen Pond/EMPICS)

“I think with the moment Real Madrid is having now, I think I should be the last one to add some fuel to the fire,” Mourinho said.

“Madrid is on fire, the results are not good and it’s a club where I worked (for) three years, I care about the club.

“I am the last one to add fire so to put some water on the fire, I would say Cristiano is the kind of player that every manager, club wants but only one manager, club can have – Zidane and Real Madrid, that’s my feeling.”

Mourinho’s wish for more attacking options had been granted this week when United sealed a switch for Sanchez that saw £35million-rated midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan head in the opposite direction.

Sanchez, 29, could now make his debut in Somerset on Friday in the fourth round of the FA Cup against League Two Yeovil after Mourinho confirmed he would be part of his squad.

The Portuguese believes he can deploy Sanchez in a variety of positions having been impressed by his versatility at Italian club Udinese and in Spain with Barca prior to his 2014 arrival in England.

“In the Premier League he has shown already the quality he has. We got one of the best attacking players in the world,” Mourinho said.

“I think he’s very important for us because we want to have the best possible players.

“Our careers are almost made in the same countries simultaneously, so I know him very, very well.

“I saw him play on the right, on the left, as a striker and behind the striker, these are Alexis’ positions.

“I saw him play in different tactical systems, with different philosophies of different managers, I saw him (be) successful in every country, with every manager, with every system, in every position.”

By signing Sanchez in a swap deal, Mourinho also bade farewell to Mkhitaryan, one of his first signings at United in the summer of 2016.

The Armenian, also 29, has been inconsistent but his old boss is confident he will shine under Arsene Wenger in north London.

“United and Arsenal made a fantastic deal,” Mourinho said. “I lost a fantastic player, Mr Wenger lost a fantastic player. I got a fantastic player, Mr Wenger got a fantastic player.

“I believe that Mkhi is going to be even better than he was with us. Why? Because (with) one and a half years in England, the Premier League, adapted, knows Arsenal, the way they play, they think.

“Could he perform better with us? Could I take more from his talent? Maybe. Could he give a little bit more also to try to adapt to us? Maybe. But I don’t think (about) regrets. He’s in our history, he did important things for us so (there is a) good feeling for everybody.”

Press Association

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