Jose Mourinho has backed Goran Pandev for disputing the validity of his voting slip for the 2012 Coach of the Year award.
Real Madrid coach Mourinho last week suggested at a possible fix in determining the winner of the accolade, won by Spain coach Vicente del Bosque.
Napoli forward Pandev said he voted for Mourinho but football’s governing body, FIFA, insisted that the Macedonia captain nominated Del Bosque, releasing an image of his ballot paper suggesting the same.
“Pandev was one of those that called me. Others prefer to remain anonymous, and I can only respect that. I appreciate Goran’s honesty and strength,” Mourinho said at an event in his hometown, Setubal.
“My intention was to explain why I didn’t attend the gala, not why I didn’t win. I probably wouldn’t have won it anyway, but things are now clear to me and no-one can criticise me, period.”
Pandev has insisted that the ballot paper FIFA published was not his own.
“All I can say is that the signature that appears on the fax is not mine. Jose Mourinho was my choice. Everyone knows that,” Pandev told Calciomercato.
“We all know strange things go on here, but we can’t change the way it is. Neither me nor Mourinho can.”
FIFA have also released a statement encouraging Pandev to demand an explanation from his country’s football association.
“If Pandev doesn’t recognise his vote, he should hold his country’s federation accountable, not us,” FIFA’s statement read.