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Jose Mourinho insists Cristiano Ronaldo should not be concerned about going up against him next season – as he will be a safe distance from the Juventus superstar in the Roma dugout.
Mourinho was unveiled as the new Roma manager in May, marking his return to Italian football 11 years on from when he left Inter Milan for Real Madrid.
The Portuguese spent three seasons working alongside Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu – a spell during which the his compatriot scored an astonishing 168 goals.
Ronaldo, 36, has kept up his brilliant scoring form since leaving Los Blancos for Juventus in 2018, with 101 goals to his name after three seasons in Turin.
Mourinho and Ronaldo spent three seasons working together at Real Madrid
(Image: Getty Images)
But Mourinho joked Ronaldo should be grateful he is not taking to the pitch when they face off next season.
"Ronaldo doesn't have to worry about me, because I don't play at centre-back," said the former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham boss.
"If I played, of course I would knock him down, but I don't have the quality for that. And I'm a little old for that."
If Mourinho's track record in Italy is anything to go by, then Roma's Serie A rivals should be concerned.
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The 58-year-old led Inter to back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010, winning a historic treble including the Champions League and Coppa Italia in his second season.
The San Siro club then endured an agonising trophy drought following Mourinho's departure which only came to an end last season as Antonio Conte led the club to Serie A glory.
Conte was heavily linked with the Tottenham job this summer after he left Inter due to a disagreement with club chiefs over transfer policy.
Can Jose Mourinho lead Roma to silverware in his debut season? Comment below.
The Italian also spent a brief and successful spell with Chelsea between 2016 and 2018 during which he won the Premier League and FA Cup.
There are definite similarities between Conte and Mourinho, but the latter declared there is nothing to be gained from comparisons.
"There are some coaches in the club's history that you should never compare to others," he told reporters on Thursday.
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"At Roma, for example, don't compare Fabio Capello or Nils Liedholm to other coaches. For Inter, never compare others to Helenio Herrera or me, because you can't do that."
On the criticism he received during recent years in the Premier League, Mourinho added: "I am a victim of how people look at me. At Manchester (United), three titles (including the Community Shield) and it was a disaster.
"At Tottenham, they didn't keep me for the final and, for me, a disaster. What is a disaster for me is a success for others."