Mourinho must have been speaking through gritted teeth recently when he admitted he agreed with Arsene Wenger over the Arsenal manager’s claim that the Ballon d’Or is a waste of time.
Wenger and Mourinho have had numerous fallings-out during their time together in the Premier League, with the Frenchman famously getting physical when he pushed his Portuguese counterpart earlier this season when their teams faced each other at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho, meanwhile, is hardly an innocent party in the matter, having constantly got underneath Wenger’s skin by calling him a “specialist in failure” and “a voyeur”, amongst other things.
The Chelsea manager completely agrees with Wenger, though, when it comes to football’s most prestigious award for individuals. The Ballon d’Or, in its current incarnation, has been awarded to the best player in the world since 2010. National team managers and captains, as well as the press, vote on who they think should win the award.
Wenger and Mourinho agree that awarding the best player in the world a trophy detracts from the notion of the team; that football as a concept is more important than any one player.
“For me”, said Mourinho, “football is collective. The individual is welcome if you want to make our group better. But you have to work for us”.
He went on to add, “When the top player arrives, the team is already there. It’s not him who comes to discover the team, like Columbus discovering America. No, no, you are coming now to help us be better”.
The Portuguese manager’s comments are enlightening, given that some feel he is the ultimate example of a manager who depends on superstars. Real Madrid have long been known for their Galácticos – world-famous, expensive players brought in with the specific aim of winning trophies. Having spent £225 million before Mourinho’s arrival, there as manager he went on to spend a further £82 million. His singings included Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Angel Di Maria. All of those are undoubtedly individual stars in their own right.
But others would argue that Mourinho is the master of getting the most out of his team, with players such as John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba willing to run through the proverbial brick wall if he asked them to.
Regardless of the truth of the matter, Jose Mourinho doesn’t often agree with Arsene Wenger, so it’s safe to presume he feels strongly about the lack of importance of the Ballon d’Or.