Sir Alex Ferguson has lavished praise on his former rival and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, claiming that his combination of good looks and exceptional management skills leave him feeling envious.
The Special One has gathered a total of 16 titles in four countries since emerging onto the scene with a superb Champions League triumph with Porto in 2004. Currently his Chelsea side sit three points clear at the top of the Premier League after a 2-0 win over Stoke City on Monday night.
Winning the title with Chelsea will be his third Premier League triumph to go along with his successes in Portugal with Porto, Italy with Inter Milan and Spain with Real Madrid. He has also won the Champions League with Inter Milan as well as with Porto.
Ferguson was not a bad manager himself. In fact he was the most successful manager in the history of British football. A 27-year spell in charge of Manchester United saw him claim 39 trophies including 13 out of a possible 20 Premier League titles.
Still, the former Red Devils boss has jokingly said that he still gets jealous of Mourinho's talents.
"He’s good looking, he’s got that sort of George Clooney bit in his hair now"
It is unfair really," Ferguson told Clare Balding during a BT Sport documentary to be broadcast on Boxing Day.
"He’s good looking, he’s got that sort of George Clooney bit in his hair now. But I think he is a great example, he can speak five languages or whatever he can."
Mourinho's famous rise from an interpreter to one of the world's best football managers is something of a fairytale. Ferguson says Mourinho's humble beginnings only add to his achievements.
"He goes and becomes an interpreter for Bobby Robson, follows him to Barcelona, works under Louis Van Gaal; he is learning all the time," added Ferguson.
"He [Mourinho] has got a determination, he wants to be a coach."
While Mourinho is a top manager now, he has virtually no history of playing the game at a professional level. Ferguson believes anyone without a history playing the game would find it impossible to get a managerial job usually.
"You shouldn’t let the barriers get in your way if you want to get there"
He said: "He never played the game, by the way – you tell me how many presidents would give a manager a job who has never played the game? None. But he has done it.
"Then he goes and manages a small team in Portugal, then goes to Porto and wins the league, wins the Uefa Cup, wins the European Cup, goes to Chelsea and wins the league. Goes to Inter Milan.
"That is an example to anyone who wants to do well, you shouldn’t let the barriers get in your way if you want to get there."
See the full interview
Sir Alex Ferguson was speaking to Clare Balding as part of a BT Sport Christmas Day double-bill of ‘Clare Balding Meets’ which features exclusive interviews with Sir Alex and Jose Mourinho.
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