Sir Alex Ferguson has acted as a father figure for both Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho, according to their agent Jorge Mendes, who also claims to have been given paternal guidance from the decorated former Manchester United manager.
Mendes brokered the deal that saw Ronaldo sign for Manchester United from Sporting over 11 years ago and, under the direction of Ferguson, the youngster was able to establish himself as the best player in the world.
Ronaldo was nurtured by the great Scot upon his arrival at Old Trafford and went on to win the Premier League title three times and Champions League once during his time with Manchester United - a spell which also included a maiden Ballon d’Or triumph.
But it is not just his charges that Ferguson has been able to influence and develop, with Mourinho too having benefited immensely from the input the 72-year-old has had during his managerial career.
"The closest is Sir Alex Ferguson, who is a great example for everybody in football,” Mendes said when asked if Mourinho was the greatest manager of all time.
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“He is like a father, not just for me but for Jose and for Cristiano [Ronaldo] as well."
Ferguson and Mourinho struck up a close relationship during the Portuguese’s first spell at the Chelsea helm, despite the two having contested honours both domestically and on the continent.
So close did their relationship become that Mourinho reportedly expected Ferguson would recommend him for the Manchester United position following his departure but, alas, it did not transpire.
David Moyes was the anointed one after Ferguson decided to retire in the summer of 2013, while Mourinho was to return to England at the same time, but Stamford Bridge rather than Old Trafford was his destination.
Mourinho is now leading Chelsea towards the Premier League title, with the top of the table following the Christmas period. Every time Mourinho has been top on Christmas day, across all the countries in which he has managed, the 52-year-old has gone on to lift the title.