Fabio Capello has stated his belief that the greatest footballer he has ever coached was former Brazil striker Ronaldo but added that the Selecao great is also the player that caused him the most issues behind the scenes.
Ronaldo, widely regarded as one of the game's all-time greats, spent five years of his playing career at Real Madrid between 2002 and 2007, with Italian coach Capello arriving in 2006 to spend just one half of a season with the Brazilian.
Persistent injuries saw to it that Ronaldo's time on the pitch in his final two campaigns at the Santiago Bernabeu was limited, but it seems the centre-forward's fitness issues on the field didn't affect his time off of it.
Indeed, Ruud van Nistelrooy, who had been tasked with filling the goal void left by his Blancos team-mate, apparently approached the former England manager to express his concern at the dressing room smelling like alcohol.
And Capello insists that, while Ronaldo was the "greatest talent" he ever coached, there were various off-field issues that meant he also caused him the most problems.
“The greatest talent I ever coached was Ronaldo,” Capello told Sky Sport Italia. “But at the same time, he was the player who created the most problems for me in the dressing room.
“He used to throw parties and all sorts of stuff. Once, Van Nistelrooy came to me and said, 'coach, the dressing room smells like alcohol'.”
At that time, Madrid fans had been crying out for silverware after a title dry spell and Capello feels that Ronaldo's eventual January exit to AC Milan was what got the team back on the right track.
“When Ronaldo went to Milan, we started to win,” he added. “But if we're talking about talent then he was the greatest. Without a doubt.”
Capello insists their neither individual harbours any ill will over their time spent together in the Spanish capital, stating that the pair speak “warmly and pleasantly” any time they cross each other's path.
Ronaldo, now 43 years old, is the major shareholder in La Liga side Real Valladolid, having taken his original 51 per cent stake in the club to 82% as of April 2020.