Jose Mourinho has hailed his long-term rival Arsene Wenger as “one of the best managers in the history of football”.
Both managers regularly had their squabbles and banter on the sidelines and off the pitch during their managerial careers in the Premier League.
But the Portuguese gaffer admitted he always had “real respect” for Wenger, who received a Lifetime Achievement award at Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday.
"Sport is tremendous, I had a long career but my passion for sport is intact, my passion for human beings is intact."
He changed football and still considered a mentor by the world stars who played for him.
— Laureus (@LaureusSport) February 18, 2019
“There were some episodes along the road. I can only speak by myself. I really enjoyed the competition. But the real respect was always there,” said Mourinho, in a video message to Wenger.
“He made lots of history in that football club. The nickname is there – the Invincibles. Amazing. A coaching philosophy, the almost perfect team.
“He is one of the best managers in the history of football.”
Mourinho and Wenger are both without a club with the Portuguese currently considering a move to the French Ligue 1, a territory he is yet to exploit.
— iyknaija (@iyknaija) February 19, 2019
Wenger, meanwhile, left Arsenal at the end of last season after 22 years in charge of the Gunners and the Frenchman admits there is no certainty he will return to management.
“My future is unknown. Even for me,” said Wenger via Sky.
“I enjoy daily life now and I have been travelling a lot recently all over the world.”