By Greg Stobart in Zurich
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho decided against travelling to Monday’s Ballon d’Or Gala in Zurich not only because he did not think he was going to win the award for Best Coach, but also due to his strained relationship with his own players, Goal.com has learned.
According to sources close to Real Madrid, the coach did not feel motivated to attend a ceremony in which “he didn’t believe that either he or his players would win a prize” but also because he wasn’t relishing the chance of sharing a trip with players such as Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos, with whom he has clashed recently.
“It’s one thing to be in a flight full of other people, but he felt the atmosphere wouldn’t be right with just him and the players,” stated the source.
The rest of the Real Madrid players will fly to Zurich and be present in the Gala on Monday, with Cristiano Ronaldo in with a chance to win a second Ballon d’Or after the one he claimed in 2008.
However, Lionel Messi is expected to win the award for a fourth consecutive year.
Mourinho cited Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash against Celta Vigo as his motive for staying behind in Madrid. Real lost the first leg 2-1 of the sides’ last-16 tie in December and must win the return at the Santiago Bernabeu to avoid further disappointment in an already average campaign.
Madrid are 16 points behind Barcelona in La Liga and Mourinho came under fire again on Sunday for leaving captain Casillas on the bench for the second match in a row. He also clashed with Ramos earlier on in the season and has publicly criticised the club on occasions this term.