Jose Mourinho rates Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo World Cup chances

Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi during the match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF, played at the Camp Nou Stadium on 06th May 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto -- (Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Jose Mourinho believes the mere presence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo means both Argentina and Portugal must be considered contenders for the World Cup. Both superstars have been attempting to add the World Cup to their incredible list of honours since they first appeared in the tournament back in 2006.

Messi tasted defeat at the hands of Germany four years ago in a final settled by Mario Gotze’s goal, while the closest Ronaldo came to World Cup glory came 12 years back when Portugal were knocked out at the semi final stage by a Zinedine Zidane penalty.

‘Portugal has an interesting squad. Without Cristiano, it would be impossible,’ Mourinho told ESPN Brazil. ‘But with him nothing is impossible. ‘I believe that the Argentinian national team without Lionel Messi wouldn’t be a contender. But with him, it is one of the favorites.’

Germany qualified with a near faultless record and look to have an even stronger team than the one which won the title four years ago. France, too, look boast a formidable squad full of attacking promise, but Mourinho believes a revitalised Spanish side will offer the greatest European threat in Russia.

He added: ‘We have the traditional teams of Europe, but I believe Spain is once again a real team. ‘They were able to get together players with the same game philosophy, adapted to that playing style. ‘I would say that Spain is in better condition than any other European rivals. But let’s see. ‘It is going to be entertaining to me, I’ll be in Russia for a week to follow the games and then finally vacation.’

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