Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo has played under three of Europe’s most renowned football coaches – Ancelotti, former mentor at Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson and current Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese international first impressed Sir Alex when at Sporting Lisbon during a 2003 friendly match against his Manchester United team (Lisbon won 3-1). So overwhelmed by his talents, Sir Alex brought the once-skinny winger to Old Trafford.
Sir Alex gave Ronaldo a special role at Manchester United, allowing the 29-year-old to effectively abandon defensive duties, focussing instead on his incredible speed going forward (both with and without the ball). The Scottish manager played a huge part in his career, and to this day Ronaldo still thinks of the Manchester United board member as his footballing father.
After his record-breaking transfer to Spanish giants Real Madrid in 2009, Ronaldo soon crossed paths with the man who Florentino Perez once labelled as the best coach in the world – Jose Mourinho (who arrived in 2010), and Ronaldo’s performances in La Liga under the Portuguese boss attained new heights.
In the three seasons of Mourinho’s reign in the Spanish capital, Ronaldo netted 168 goals in 164 appearances, and picked up a La Liga and Copa Del Rey winners medal.
But Mourinho’s last season in charge of Los Blancos (2013/13) ended on a sour note, with the self-proclaimed Special One intent on returning to Chelsea, and Ronaldo finishing the season without a trophy.
Following Mourinho’s return to the Blues, Real Madrid opted for another former Chelsea boss - Carlo Ancelotti - as his replacement.
The Italian manager started off slowly at the Bernabeu, with early-season defeats against Atletico Madrid and Barcelona not helping his cause. Ronaldo, however, was fully behind his boss from day one and in a report published by Spain's El Confidencial, he allegedly told Real Madrid president Florentino Perez that Ancelotti is the best coach he’s ever had – better than Sir Alex and Mourinho.
'President, I’m all for Ancelotti. He is the best coach I have had in my career up until now. He has given me what others haven’t been capable of', Ronaldo is reported to have said.
This season under Ancelotti, Ronaldo has scored 30 La Liga goals in 28 just matches - together with 16 Champions League goals which have helped Real Madrid to the final.
And with the Copa Del Rey already sewn up, Ronaldo and Ancelotti are now just one game away from completing Real Madrid’s biggest dream – achieving La Decima – their 10th top European crown.