Club Brugge manager Michel Preud'homme has claimed he played an instrumental role in handing Jose Mourinho his first managerial job at Benfica.
The former Belgium international had been impressed with the Portuguese's work under Louis van Gaal at Barcelona and recommended him to the Benfica president.
Mourinho had been assistant to the Dutchman during his spell in charge at the Nou Camp, but an offer to return to the Primeira Liga proved too good to turn down.
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It set the wheels in motion for what would go on to be one of the most successful managerial careers in football history. Mourinho has gone on to win leagues in four countries as well as two Champions League titles.
Preud'homme, whose Club Brugge side will face Van Gaal at Old Trafford on Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions League playoff, said Mourinho's raw talent made him an obvious choice.
He told The Sun: "Yes, I took Mourinho from Van Gaal. I had given the profiles of four candidates to the president. We looked at them and we decided to take Jose.
"Of course, I was the one who proposed Jose to be the manager also after he came to the club. It's a good story. It was his first job as manager and after that he became the great Mourinho.
"I met him when I went to Barcelona once on behalf of Benfica. We had a common friend but I didn't know Jose at the time -- I had just seen him on the bench next to Van Gaal.
"We spoke about football and it was really impressive -- his ideas, his knowledge.
"I think six months later the moment came and I said maybe we'll give a chance to a coach who hasn't coached yet -- Jose."
Mourinho has certainly made an impression on most people interested in European football with his submissive tactics tending to annoy opposition.
However, Preud'homme says it was the similarities in their philosophies that convinced him to give Mourinho his first chance in management.
He said: “I proposed him to Benfica because his ideas were very close to mine.
“We’re very close in our philosophy and his ideas are a bit like mine.”
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