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Mourinho hints at award scandal, as Benzema takes a vow of silence

International breaks would be tremendously dull affairs were it not for footballers and managers shooting their mouths off, mindlessly ranting about how everything is rubbish and just not fair. La Liga Loca suspects many of them are well aware of the repercussions of these choice comments made away from the clutches of their respective clubâÂÂs press officers.

José Mourinho certainly fell into that bracket when he told the Portuguese media the reasons he didn't travel to the FIFA Ballon dâÂÂOr awards in January, instead choosing to remain in Madrid. âÂÂTwo or three people called me and said âÂÂI voted for you and the vote appeared for someone elseâÂÂâ revealed a mischievous Mourinho, who also admitted that perhaps his greatest pleasure at getting past Manchester United in the Champions League last 16 was that âÂÂa lot of people werenâÂÂt expecting it and were frustrated.âÂÂ

âÂÂWhere is he going with this,â asked MarcaâÂÂs Wednesday editorial. âÂÂWhen he won in 2010, there were no complaints.âÂÂ

Sergio Ramos was also feeling frustrated after the win in Manchester, but instead about the reaction of Mourinho, who claimed that âÂÂthe best team lostâÂÂ.

âÂÂI would have liked for him to have said something else,â Ramos sniffed during preparations for SpainâÂÂs double header against Finland and France.

The latter of those opponents are set to field Karim Benzema, who has caused a bit of a hullaballoo in his own country by admitting that he doesnâÂÂt bang out the countryâÂÂs national anthem ahead of games. âÂÂIâÂÂve never sung it in my life and IâÂÂm not going to now. Not doing it, wonâÂÂt stop me from scoring a hat-trick,â noted Benzema quite reasonably. âÂÂIf I score a lot of goals in a France game, nobody will ask if I sang La Marseillaise before.âÂÂ

Although his comments drew criticism from FranceâÂÂs National Front party, he was backed by Michel Platini, who admited he also hadnâÂÂt one for a pre-match singalong back in the day. âÂÂItâÂÂs a war song and for me, a football match is a sporting event, not war,â revealed the UEFA president.

There was also a bit of bother in the Catalan capital, with Sandro Rosell telling children at a local school that âÂÂthe fact that you speak Catalan, understand Catalan and are Barça fans in Catalonia, speaking Catalan is exactly what you should do, to show your feeling towards the club.âÂÂ

Espanyol get a little touchy about BarçaâÂÂs tendency to hog the big Catalan duvet, with club president Joan Collet responding that âÂÂno club has the exclusivity nor patent on Catalanism. There are a lot of Barça members who donâÂÂt speak Catalan and not everyone that does speak it is for Barça.âÂÂ

Deportivo's Augusto Lendoiro was another club president who felt like having his say, this time in response to a fairly damning report from the administrators that details a â¬156 million debt and states that staying in business is âÂÂthe least bad optionâ for Deportivo. Lendoiro clearly doesnâÂÂt do humility, and responded with the impeccable logic that the same people who got Deportivo into such a mess should be the ones to get it out again. âÂÂIf someone can save the club itâÂÂs the current board. Who is going to know all this better than us?âÂÂ

Lendoiro also challenged the size of the debt reported, saw the lack of evidence of any theft or impropriety at the club as âÂÂvery importantâ and slammed the administrators for a perceived lack of communication. âÂÂThereâÂÂs no relationship, IâÂÂve asked to meet once a day (LLL suspects lunch was the idea for the chunky chieftain) but itâÂÂs too much to ask.âÂÂ

ItâÂÂs been a fine start to international week, and there's plenty more time for further mischief to be made.