Mourinho declares UEFA ban to be ‘a medal’

REAL Madrid coach Jose Mourinho yesterday called a two-match UEFA ban for improper conduct “a medal”, insisting he has been singled out for special treatment by the European governing body.

UEFA banned the Special One this week after allegations that he had engineered deliberate red cards for two of his players during a Champions League match.

“I see this punishment as a medal,” Mourinho said. “My grandmother died a long time ago but I remember what she told me as a child. ‘If they are envious of you, you should be happy,’ and this has happened to me.

“I'm pleased there is one rule for Jose Mourinho and one for the other coaches. It's a historic punishment for me.

“I can't leave the technical area, others can. I can't pick up a ball an adversary wants, others can. I can't speak with the fourth official, others can. They are medals so, no worries.”

After the Ajax game, Spanish media reported the Real players had acted on instructions from Mourinho. They said the message was passed from Mourinho to reserve goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek and on to keeper Iker Casillas.

Spanish television showed Dudek talking to Casillas with hands covering their mouths and Casillas was then shown doing the same with Sergio Ramos.

The sendings-off mean Xabi Alonso and Ramos will serve automatic one-match suspensions in the final group game against Auxerre, which is a dead match for Real as they are already assured of qualification.

Both players had accumulated two yellow cards in the group stage before they were sent off, and a further yellow card would have meant a one-match suspension during the knockout rounds.

UEFA fined the club, Mourinho and the four players involved. The second match of Mourinho's ban has been deferred for a probationary period of three years.

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