Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger do not agree on much, but the Portuguese has backed his Arsenal counterpart on his dislike for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award.
There is no love lost between Mourinho and Wenger, with their feud starting during the former’s first stint at Stamford Bridge when he described Wenger as a “voyeur” over comments he made about Chelsea.
Mourinho also described Wenger as a “specialist in failure” last season, while the Frenchman shoved his opposite number following a touchline disagreement during October’s Premier League contest at west London.
One place where there is agreement, though, is Wenger’s assessment – made public in January – that he would not cast a vote for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award because he believes individual achievements are taking away from the team collective.
“I think Wenger said something that is interesting, he is against the Ballon d’Or and I think he’s right, because in this moment football is losing a little bit the concept of the team to focus more on the individual,” Mourinho told The Telegraph.
“We are always looking at the individual performance, the individual stat, the player that runs more. Because you run 11 kilometres in a game and I run nine you did a better job than I did? Maybe not! Maybe my nine kilometres were more important than your 11.
“For me, football is collective. The individual is welcome if you want to make our group better. But you have to work for us, not we have to work for you.
“When the top player arrives, the team is already there. It’s not him who comes to discover the team, like [Christopher] Columbus discovering America. No, no, you are coming now to help us be better.
“And as a manager you have to give this message every day – not with lectures or words. It’s about what the players observe in relation to the behaviour and to the feedback – the way you react to this player and that player, the empathy with this one and that one.
“The only thing you cannot give to a player is the talent. But can you work the talent properly so that he understands the team’s needs? Is he an intelligent, open guy waiting for you to help him be better? Is he the kind of maverick guy, the selfish guy, where it is much more difficult to persuade him the team is more important than he is?
“I’ve had all of these in every club I’ve ever worked at. There is no perfect group anywhere but if you ask me what’s the most important thing in a player, it’s the talent.”
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