Even Italian icon Lippi sees United boss Fergie as the Godfather
There are young managers, old managers, track-suited managers, suited-and-booted managers, managers who play mind games, motivational managers and philosophising managers who baffle the opposition with tactics.
But there is only one Godfather. There is only one Sir Alex Ferguson.
Who says None other than Marcello Lippi, the first man to lead teams to both Champions League and World Cup glory. Well, even the greats need someone to admire.
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The former Juventus and Italy boss is actually something of a committed Scot-ophile, revealing that he had once recommended striker Kenny Miller to a number of Serie A clubs.
His respect for old adversary Ferguson goes deeper than mere appreciation of his native land, though.
It owes everything, in fact, to the Manchester United manager’s remarkable quarter-century at one of the world’s most demanding clubs.
Discussing the prominence of a number of senior citizens in prominent coaching positions around Europe, 63-year-old Lippi said: ‘The old school They are not that old.
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‘Alex Ferguson, maybe. He did not have a happy birthday, no
‘But if you want to talk about managers it is very difficult. It is hard to compare managers because every single manager has a different way of working.
‘There are some managers who are good about matters on the pitch, there are others who are good about talking about the philosophy of the game, others who are strong in the psychological aspect of the game.
‘I would not like to compare old managers with young managers. There is room for everyone.
‘What I will say is, it is different if you are a manager at a club when you are in the middle of the table and you can play without pressure, or if you are a manager who has to pick a team to play every three days in a lot of competitions and have a lot of players involved in international duty.’
Main attraction: Marcello Lippi (right) conducted the Scottish Cup draw
Ferguson falls into that latter category, most certainly, and his sheer longevity at the summit of the European game — regularly winning domestic titles and trophies, in addition to two Champions League triumphs and a couple of close-run things in the world’s richest club tournament — provokes awe even from guys who have won the lot.
Lippi said: ‘Would it ever happen again, someone serving 25 years at such a big club That would be very, very difficult. It is unlikely to happen. In Italy it would be impossible.
‘It is true that there is only one Alex Ferguson.’