Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney did not vote for Jose Mourinho for best coach in the recently concluded Best FIFA Football Awards.
The 31-year-old, like every other professional player got three picks to nominate three coaches for the award, and surprisingly omitted his new boss all three times.
Rooney’s top pick, understandably so, was Claudio Ranieri, who inspired the world when he led Leicester City to a miraculous Premier League title triumph last season.
But for his next two choices, the striker opted for Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Wales national team coach Chris Coleman.
Klopp managed to get Liverpool to two finals in his first season at Anfield, while Coleman caught the eye when his less-fancied Wales reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
The award ultimately went to Ranieri, whose achievement with the Foxes was lauded as one of “the greatest sporting miracles of the last century”.
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Rooney’s other surprising choice was leaving Lionel Messi out of his three picks for Best FIFA Player of the Year, given that he has often proclaimed the Argentine to be the best in the world in the past.
The Man United forward, who recently became the club’s joint top scorer of all time alongside Sir Bobby Charlton, went for eventual winner Cristiano Ronaldo as his top pick.
His second choice was Luis Suarez, Messi’s teammate at Barcelona, while his third was Jamie Vardy of Leicester City.
The Foxes forward was instrumental in his club’s title winning campaign, with his 25 goals putting him just behind Harry Kane in the race for last season’s EPL Golden Boot.
Meanwhile, Mourinho has revealed what the Red Devils must do to ensure that Rooney is able to play on for many more years.
The English striker has been criticized for his waning performances this season, and at 31 is no longer assured of a first XI place for either club or country.
The Portuguese is however sure that if certain steps are taken, Rooney can have a long career, such as that of Man United legend Ryan Giggs.
“It’s always a pity when these guys, they go to the end, but they get older and we cannot stop the clock,” Mourinho said.
“But when they take good care about themselves, when the wives help, when they train well, when the manager and the staff is intelligent enough to understand the difference between the body of a teenager or the body of a man of thirty something … they can delay the end of their career.”