Ronaldo and Mourinho among Portugal’s ‘Best of the Century’

Cristiano Ronaldo and José Mourinho have been singled out as Portugal’s ‘Best Footballer of the Century’ and ‘Best Coach of the Century’ by the national football association (FPF).

The awards were handed out during a star-studded gala night held in Estoril on Wednesday (January 14) to celebrate FPF’s 100th anniversary.

José Mourinho, currently in his second spell with Chelsea, gave a memorable acceptance speech and promised to hand over his trophy to the next Portuguese coach who is able to achieve the same success that he did with F.C. Porto between 2001 and 2004.

“I will give my trophy to any Portuguese coach that is able to win the Champions League with a team of mostly Portuguese players and that can feed the national team as Porto did at the time of the Euro 2004,” the eccentric coach said.

During his time at Porto, Mourinho, 51, impressively led his team to wins in the UEFA Cup in 2003, the UEFA Champions League in 2004 as well as two Portuguese championships, one Portuguese Cup and one Portuguese Super Cup.

He also dedicated the award to “everyone who helped FPF become what it is today throughout its 100-year history”.

For Ronaldo, the distinction came only two days after he was awarded FIFA’s Ballon D’Or for the third time in his career.

Besides being the Portuguese national team’s best scorer with 52 goals, he is also the only Portuguese footballer to have been awarded the Ballon D’Or more than once.

At 29, he has already won UEFA’s Champions League twice and also has three Premier League titles and one La Liga trophy under his belt.

As the footballer was busy preparing for Real Madrid’s match against Atlético Madrid last night, his agent Jorge Mendes accepted the award on Ronaldo’s behalf.

“Ronaldo is the best athlete in the history of sports,” said the wealthy entrepreneur.

He added: “I, as a Portuguese citizen, am proud to have such a high-class sportsman represent out country”.

A number of other awards were handed out by the FPF, such as ‘Referee of the Century’ (Pedro Proença), the ‘National Team of the Century’ (the 1966 World Cup team) as well as the ‘Starting 11 of the Century’, which includes Vítor Baía, Fernando Couto, Germano, Humberto Coelho, Ricardo Carvalho, Coluna, Figo, Rui Costa, Cristiano Ronaldo, Eusébio and Paulo Futre.

By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]