Former Manchester United star Andrew Cole has praised Bayer Leverkusen manager Sami Hyypia ahead of tonight's Champions League clash at Old Trafford.
41-year-old Cole, who won 10 trophies during a hugely prolific and successful spell with the Red Devils between 1995-2001, played against Hyypia, the former Liverpool defender, on several separate occasions during domestic clashes between the two old foes.
Former Finland international Hyypia, who became a firm fans favourite at Anfield during a ten-year stint on Merseyside, has been in permanent charge of the Bundesliga outfit since May 2012 after impressing during a one-month stint as caretaker boss following the dismissal of German Robin Dutt.
And despite their many tussles over the years Cole, who retired from professional football after a spell with Nottingham Forest in 2008, has spoken positively of his former rival, wishing him all the best for the future.
“I loved playing against Sami, we had so many battles,” Cole said an interview with the club's official website.
“I used to say to him, 'I have never known a centre-half who moans as much as you. All you do is moan and I’m not allowed to touch you!’ He used to say the same about me too, we just used to get on with it.
“To see where he has come from at Liverpool, where he did very well as a player, to becoming manager of Leverkusen is great. And it’s not as if Leverkusen is some Mickey Mouse team in Germany, they are a big football club.
"He has done very well as a manager so far and I wish him all the best. He is coming to Old Trafford as an opposition manager, so fair play to him," he added.
Tonight's Group A clash between the two clubs will be David Moyes' first European fixture in charge of United and he will surely be hoping to achieve a positive start after enduring a difficult summer in the transfer market.