Jose Mourinho passed up the opportunity to name the best XI he has ever coached because he will never forget his “brothers in arms”.
The Manchester United boss was speaking to FIFA.com ahead of the governing body’s Best FIFA Football Awards on January 9, but he does not have too much taste for individual gongs.
“Honestly, I’m not too big a fan of individual awards,” he said. “Football is a team sport. Teams win matches and players are not as important as teams.
“Media and fans love it; managers not so much because there is some contradiction between what we work for and the individual award. However, media and fans are very important in the game, so I am not against the individual awards.
“There are, of course, special players with such talent that they can make teams and fellow players better. These kind of players can influence a style of play or a team dynamic.
“For me, these are the special players. I just feel that, with the awards, the focus is exaggerated somewhat… one week after the ceremony, the campaign for next year has already begun.”
And Mourinho stayed true to this outlook when asked to name the best combined team from his decorated spells in charge of Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid.
“It’s an answer that I’ve always refused to give and will continue to,” he explained.
“So many players gave their blood and soul when they played for me, how can I name some and forget others?
“Vitor Baia, Petr Cech, Julio Cesar… how can I choose just one? Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Marco Materazzi, Lucio, Walter Samuel, John Terry… how can I choose one?
“Michael Essien, Wesley Sneijder, Nemanja Matic, Costinha, Maniche, Xabi Alonso, Frank Lampard … how can I choose one?
“I don’t think I will ever answer that question because I’ll never forget my brothers in arms.”