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Every team has a leader. As much as a team needs to play as a unit, it also need a leader.
Last year, Wesley Sneijder was Inter's leader. And like all great leaders, he made everyone around him better. The team understood he was the inspiration and he was orchestrating the team and was the key to their offense.
At the same time, everyone understands Cristiano Ronaldo is Real's leader. The issue is just whether he can make the everyone around him better.
In the past when Real has struggled, instead of relying on his teammates, Ronaldo has tried to win on his own and individually carry Real to victory. He starts to shoot more and doesn't pass or share the ball as much. He was rarely successful.
Interestingly enough however, this season when Higuain went down due to injury, Ronaldo stepped up and has almost individually carried the team. Other players of course contributed but few, and none consistently, have contributed to the scoring. Ronaldo has been the bulk of Real's offense and thus far Real has been successful.
In Sneijder, Mourinho had a leader on the field, but everyone knew Mourinho was the ultimate leader of the team.
Few coaches seem to have been able to control the many egos that have filled Real Madrid's roster over the past decade. While there has always been a coach on the sidelines, it often appeared some of the players didn't respect or follow his direction.
Mourinho on the other hand appears to have complete control and direction over Real Madrid at the moment. It helps that he brings a history of winning and has a bigger ego than any other player. But his reputation and attitude is necessary to control a player like Ronaldo and allow Mourinho to control the team's direction.
In Ronaldo, Mourinho has a world class talent but a questionable leader. However, Ronaldo is already a different player this season than he was last season. He isn't as selfish and is slowly relying on fellow players to contribute to his and Real's success.
If Mourinho can convert Ronaldo into a true leader where Ronaldo makes the other players on his team better and wants team and not individual glory, then Real very well could become the favorites in the Champions League and replicate Inter's success from last season.