Jose Mourinho has tipped Sir Alex Ferguson to carry on working until he is 90.
The pair became firm friends after Mourinho joined Chelsea in 2004, although tonight that will be put on one side when Manchester United tackle Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Mourinho has been championed as a successor to Ferguson when the Scot eventually ends his unbelievable stint at Old Trafford.
But the Real coach believes Ferguson will carry on as long as he does.
"No," he said, when asked if he could replace the Scot.
"I don't believe so.
"I think we have to end our career at the same time. Him at 90 and me at 70."
The words may have been delivered tongue in cheek.
Nevertheless, there is no indication 71-year-old Ferguson is on the brink of quitting just yet, certainly not in time for Mourinho to find a job if his present employers deem him surplus to requirements at the end of the season.
"I won't be working until I'm 90 believe me," said the United boss.
"But I am enjoying it and while my health is good I will carry on."
It means Ferguson could be in direct opposition to his old pal on a domestic basis again next season as Mourinho confirmed he will return to the Premier League when his work at Real is done.
"After Real Madrid, England will be my next step," he said. "I love everything about it."
But on the subject of when, the former Chelsea boss was coy.
"We will see," he said.
The uncertainty stems from a contradiction between Mourinho's utter certainty in the job he is doing at the Bernabeu, and the contempt with which he is held by the people paid to cover them in the media.
"Are you worried about my crisis?" he said. "I am not.
"It is easy for you to let this press conference end and then speak to the people who write the stories.
"They will tell you stories they like to write."
Mourinho is under immense pressure to win this tie, which he believes "the whole world is watching".
For, with the Liga title on its way to Barcelona, it is hard to see Mourinho surviving much longer if he fails in the quest to land a record 10th Champions League crown for Real.
"There are great clubs in the world who have never won this competition," he said.
"Real Madrid have won nine, I have won two. Real Madrid wants to win its 10th. I want my third.
"If it comes this year, good. If not, I will try again next year.
"I don't think I will end my career with only two titles."