George Best? He has always been the real special one for me, reveals Jose Mourinho
One of the greatest football managers in the world has revealed that if he could have signed any player in history, it would have been none other than our own George Best.
In an interview in the Daily Telegraph this week, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho described the east Belfast footballer as "30 years ahead of his time".
The Portuguese manager was even described as being lost for words as he tried to sum up why he rates our man as the best player in history.
One of the formative moments of Best's career came in a European Cup tie against Benfica in 1966 when, as a teenager, he scored two sensational goals at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon, ensuring Manchester United became the first foreign team to beat the Portuguese giants at home.
Stunned by that performance, the Portuguese media dubbed him the fifth Beatle. Although Mourinho would have only been three when that match took place, it must be a factor in cementing Best as the cream of the crop for him.
He said: "George Best! He was amazing. Amazing! And he was 30 years ahead of his time. This guy today would be... phew!"
Former Northern Ireland international and Spurs star Gerry Armstrong said the praise should come as no surprise, and he added that he agreed with Mourinho wholeheartedly.
"In that game that Manchester United won in the European Cup against Benfica, George showed the world what an incredible player he was, and he would, of course, go on to score against Benfica again in the European Cup final a couple of years later.
"He was the first global superstar from a football point of view. So I am not surprised by this at all, and I would totally agree with him."
Mr Armstrong added that football was just one of the sports in which Northern Ireland has produced the very best.
"We have always punched above our weight in sport - look at Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke in golf," he said.