Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has claimed the winner of the FIFA Ballon d'Or has already been decided, amidst talk of a conspiracy that "the heads of football" have campaigned for Lionel Messi.
The Barcelona forward is the current favorite to win the individual accolade for a third successive year but will have to oust teammate Andres Iniesta and Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, both of whom made the final three-man shortlist along with the player who is one goal shy of tying Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year.
When asked about Ronaldo's chances of winning the award after Madrid's 4-1 UEFA Champions League win over Ajax on Tuesday, Mourinho replied, "The Ballon d'Or has already been given. When the heads of football speak and make the campaign, there is nothing you can do."
Mourinho then reflected on his side's victory over the Dutch champions, which saw Madrid finish second in Group D, with goals from Ronaldo, Jose Callejon and reported LA Galaxy target Kaka leading the way.
"We have to respect everyone. Last year we broke the record of points in the group stage, and in this year's group of death have been second," Mourinho said. "We wanted to be first but it has not been possible."
When questioned on the possibility of switching to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, Mourinho joked, "They say I'm going to Paris? And the Spanish press announces [on Tuesday] that [Carlo] Ancelotti will go to Real.
"Maybe we'll have an exchange between the two clubs. But Paris would be a good destination for ... our next Champions League game?"