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Mourinho slams FIFA for ‘fixing’ best manager vote

The controversial Real Madrid coach has denounced 'irregularities' in FIFA's voting process for the 2012 Ballon d'Or awards gala in which he was a candidate for the Men's Coach of the Year award.

Mourinho slams FIFA for 'fixing' best manager vote
Sour grapes? Mourinho told RTP he in no way regrets not going to a FIFA awards ceremony he said contained "irregularities". Photo: Andrew Yates/AFP
Mourinho told Portuguese public broadcaster RTP in an interview on Tuesday: "One, two or three people phoned me to tell me that they had voted for me and later, when the list of votes was published, another name appeared by their votes.
 
"That was why I decided not to go to the gala, I don't regret it at all".
 
The award was given to Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque, who led his national side to victory at Euro 2012.
 
"There was a lack of transparency. FIFA was aware of these irregularities, knowing they were there, but did nothing to avoid them",  argued Mourinho.
 
The international footballing body have since contacted RTP  to rebuff Mourinho's version and said, "We can confirm that the list published by FIFA is correct".

In related news, Real Madrid must beat Galatasaray in their Champions League quarter-final home leg or else they face a tough time in the return leg in Turkey, coach Jose Mourinho said on Tuesday.

Mourinho, who has already guided Porto and Inter Milan to Champions League glory, said that Real face a tough challenge against a side packed with quality — including Champions League-winning players Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba — and with Turkey's best coach Fatih Terim in charge.

"It will be tough, but we must try and get a positive result at home in the first leg, which is not what we managed to do against Manchester United (a 1-1 draw in Madrid).

"We must go there with at least a small advantage."

Mourinho, whose side play the home leg on April 3 with the away trip to Istanbul on April 11, watched Galatasaray last Sunday and came away impressed.

"I saw everything I expected to see: a team that is used to the Champions League and who not only have two former winners of this competition, Drogba and Sneijder, but also players who have played for other top clubs," he said.

"Players like Emmanuel Eboue who was at Arsenal, Felipe Melo who came from Juventus, Albert Riera from Liverpool and Fernando Muslera from Lazio.

"The team also has an excellent coach, the best in Turkey, who also coached at one time in Italy, with a bunch of supporters who are unique," he said with masterful understatement, given the intimidatory welcome all sides face when they play Galatasaray.

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FOOTBALL

Black Lives Matter: Marcelo ‘takes the knee’ to celebrate Real Madrid win

Marcelo celebrated by taking a knee as Real Madrid returned from three months away following the coronavirus suspension by beating Eibar 3-1 on Sunday.

Black Lives Matter: Marcelo 'takes the knee' to celebrate Real Madrid win
Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo kneels on the field to celebrate his goal. Photo: AFP

After scoring Madrid's third goal in the 37th minute, Marcelo dropped onto his left knee and raised his clinched right fist into the air, apparently in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Madrid's win may have come at a cost as Eden Hazard and Sergio Ramos were both substituted early in the second half and were seen with ice packs strapped to them while sitting in the stands.

Hazard was making his first start since February and his ice pack appeared to be around his troublesome right ankle, which he injured in November and February, before undergoing surgery in March.

“We knew Eden would lack a bit of rhythm playing the whole game,” coach Zinedine Zidane said.

“He played well for an hour, he took a knock which was a scare but at half-time he said he was fine. He is happy with what he has done and we are happy with him.”

Madrid's win means they reduce the gap behind league leaders Barcelona back to two points after the Catalans thrashed Real Mallorca 4-0 on Saturday.    

Madrid struck in the fourth minute after a superb strike from Toni Kroos before Ramos tucked away Hazard's pass on the counter-attack.    

Eibar pulled one back in the second half through Pedro Bigas but never found the second to make Madrid nervous, despite a brief spell of pressure.    

Before going off, Hazard was busy, the Belgian involved in all three goals.    

His weaving run through midfield led to Kroos' shot and it was his effort that was cleared out to Marcelo, who drove into the corner.    

After a miserable opening season in Spain, it was a bright start for Hazard, who could now redeem himself by playing a crucial role in the run-in, if he can stay injury-free.

Perhaps even more impressive though was Karim Benzema, who linked up brilliantly with Hazard and was unfortunate not to get the goal an excellent all-round performance deserved.

Gareth Bale started on the bench but came on and could start against Valencia on Thursday.

Zidane is likely to rotate heavily over the next few weeks, with the games coming thick and fast.

New surroundings

Madrid's coach will also have been pleased to get off to a positive start in their new training ground home, which was the 100th different stadium to be used in La Liga.

They will be playing all their remaining home matches at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium to allow renovation work at the Santiago Bernabeu to continue this summer.

“We know the situation, it's all a bit strange,” said Zidane. “But the players are all champions and we have to get our heads around it.”    

Barca had needed less than two minutes to score against Mallorca and Madrid were only slightly later, as Hazard broke through Eibar's midfield and Casemiro set Benzema free.

The ball was cleared to Kroos on the edge of the area, who struck first time, sidefooting perfectly into the far top right-hand corner.   

Ramos doubled their advantage after starting, and finishing, a ruthless counter-attack. In between, Benzema and Hazard were involved again, the former picking out the latter, who generously gave Ramos an open goal.

Marcelo put Eibar all but out of sight before half-time as Benzema played through for Hazard and his shot spilled out to Marcelo to lash into the corner.

Eibar were better after the break as Edu Exposito forced a full-stretch save from Thibaut Courtois and then Sergi Enrich headed against the crossbar. 

Bigas did score after diverting in Pedro Leon's shot but Madrid held on.    

Earlier, Diego Costa scored his first goal since October but Atletico Madrid missed the chance to move into La Liga's top four by drawing 1-1 away at Athletic Bilbao.

Costa celebrated by holding up the shirt of Virgina Torrecilla, a player from Atletico's women's team, who underwent surgery on a brain tumour last month.

His equaliser came two minutes after the excellent Iker Muniain had given Bilbao the lead towards the end of the first half and neither side could find a winner at the empty San Mames, with Atletico defender Santiago Arias missing the best chance late on.

Diego Simeone's side stay sixth, level on points with Getafe and one behind Real Sociedad, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Osasuna.

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