Jose Mourinho has said Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo don’t need to win the World Cup to be considered greats.
The Chelsea manager added, however, that the great players of the past did win the World Cup and that’s why there is a feeling the pair need to follow in their footsteps.
“I don’t think Messi needs to win with Argentina to be great – he already is great,” Mourinho said at an event to mark his role as Yahoo’s Global Football Ambassador.
“Ronaldo is great too and he doesn’t need to be a world champion but, and there’s always a but, Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldo Nazario and Rivaldo… they all did it,” the former Real Madrid Coach added.
“A lot of the top players did it and that’s why everyone’s waiting for Messi and Cristiano to as well.”
Mourinho went on to say that in his mind, the World Cup has been surpassed by the Champions League, but admitted the World Cup had greater influence than the club competition.
“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 argued.
“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.
“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. I am in Austria, they are not in the World Cup.”
Mourinho, who named Eden Hazard, Rafael Varane and Neymar as his three players to watch in the summer tournament, rated Spain, England, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands as the European sides capable of winning the trophy, and Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay as the South Americans to be wary of.
“I’d like to coach [Portugal] as a way of ending my career,” Mourinho confirmed.
“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.”