Lisbon: Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho reiterated on Saturday his claim that he and not Spain handler Vicente Del Bosque was the rightful recipient of FIFA's 2012 World Coach of the Year award.
Mourinho this week alleged that del Bosque picked up the honour at a ceremony in Zurich in January only after "irregularities" when people who had voted for him had their votes changed.
He raised the issue again at a press conference in Setubal where he praised Macedonia captain Goran Pandev for publicly backing his contested version of events.
"I would simply like to thank one of numerous others who phoned me to warn me (of vote rigging), because it's not easy.
"This person who had the honour and the strength to publicly assume when others requested anonymity," Mourinho added, confirming to reporters he was referring to and praising "the captain of the Macedonia national team".
On Thursday Pandev had added weight to Mourinho's allegation when he told Spanish television channel La Sexta he had voted for the Real boss only for his vote to be changed for Del Bosque.
Del Bosque, who has dismissed as "childish" Mourinho's version of events, took the award with 35% of the vote from international players, managers and journalists compared to 20% for his outspoken Portuguese rival.
On Friday FIFA published on its website the offical voting list with Pandev's vote going to Del Bosque, although the Macedonian subsequently insisted on Italian website Calciomercato.com that the signature did not belong to him.
The 50-year-old former Chelsea boss said he didn't attend the gala event in Zurich due to what he believed to be irregularities in the vote.
"I don't regret not attending the event in person," Mourinho told Portuguese TV station RTP.
"One, two or three people called me to say they had voted for me and in the end another name appeared in their votes. Therefore I decided not to go."
Story first published on: Saturday, 23 March 2013 22:28 IST