Real Madrid head coach Jose Mourinho praised Goran Pandev’s “courage and strength” for publicly stating that the vote for FIFA Coach of the Year had been fixed.

“My intention was only one - to let people realise why I did not go to the ceremony in Zurich,” Mourinho was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “I had been told there was something murky in the voting process and now we have proof of that. I probably would not have won anyway, but that wouldn’t have been a problem as long as things were clear. Now nobody can criticise me for not going to the ceremony.”

Signature controversy

Napoli striker Pandev is captain of Macedonia and had the right to make his country’s vote for the award. Even after FIFA published a copy of the fax they received from the Macedonian FA voting for Vicente Del Bosque, Pandev continued to insist it was not his signature and that he had voted for Mourinho.

“I want to thank Pandev, who is one of the many people who called me to warn there was something going on,” said Mourinho.

“I thank him for having the courage and the strength to publicly confront this issue, because others who warned me asked to remain anonymous.”

“That was an understandable position to take. I don’t want to criticise them, but what Pandev did certainly wasn’t easy,” he added.

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