Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, claims that neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo need to win the World Cup to be considered amongst the greatest players in football history.
Mourinho told Yahoo Eurosport in his new role as their ‘Global Football Ambassador’ for 2014 that both players are “already great” and don’t need to prove it with World Cup winner’s medal.
“I don’t think Messi needs to win with Argentina to be great – he already is great. Ronaldo is great too and he doesn’t need to be a world champion,” the Portuguese said.
“But, and there’s always a but, Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldo Nazário and Rivaldo… they all did it.
“A lot of the top players did it and that’s why everyone’s waiting for Messi and Cristiano to as well.”
Mourinho was then asked about his thoughts on the Brazil World Cup and insisted the best football is played in the Champions League, but the FIFA tournament is culturally the number one event in the world.
“For me, clubs from domestic competition are better than most national sides – that’s obvious because the big clubs can buy the best players and so the best football is in the Champions League,” he continued.
“But the World Cup is all about emotion and the social side of it. Culturally, it’s the number one phenomenon in the world, the whole world stops for one month because of it.
“When you travel, like I do sometimes when the finals are on, you can immediately tell which country is competing at the World Cup.
“You arrive in the airport, you spend five minutes walking up the street and you know immediately – I am in Germany, they are in the World Cup.”
The Portuguese believes Eden Hazard, Neymar and Raphael Varane will be the three names to watch in Brazil.
He also revealed he feels Spain, England, Germany, Portugal and Holland are favourites to lift the trophy amongst the European teams while Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay are the South American sides which could go all the way.
Mourinho ended the interview by reiterating his desire to coach Portugal's national team, but only towards the end of his managerial career.
“I’d like to coach our national side as a way of ending my career,” the 51-year-old added.
“I haven’t wanted to do so far because I don’t have the qualities to be Portugal’s coach yet.
“I’ll think about it when I realize it’s time for me to rest, at the moment, I don’t think I could handle waiting around for two years until it’s time to play the European Championships or the World Cup.”
Do you agree with Mourinho that Messi and Ronaldo don’t need the World Cup to reach the level of Maradona, Pele and Zidane? Have your say in the comment section below.