'I don't have a problem with him after football' - Benitez praises Ferguson

The Blues' interim manager lauded the healthy competition he has shared with the retiring Scot, while Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas also hailed the 71-year-old's contribution
Rafa Benitez has joined the praise for old rival Sir Alex Ferguson following the Manchester United manager’s decision to step down at the end of the season.

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The hostility between the pair stretches back to Benitez’s time in charge of Liverpool and Benitez could well end up as the last manager to beat the Spaniard after Chelsea’s win at Old Trafford on Sunday.

“I’ve said before that I like to challenge and compete against him,” said Benitez. “Now that he’s retired I wish him health.

“I think he will enjoy football in a different way. I don’t have a problem with him after football.”

Benitez was speaking after his Chelsea side drew 2-2 with Tottenham on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge as the race for a place in next season’s Champions League hots up.

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas also hailed Sir Alex's legacy after 27 years in charge at Old Trafford, reserving special praise for his personality on and off the field.

Villas-Boas said: “The world of football will miss the great example of the manager, his great charisma and passion.

“To re-create the team as he has done is tremendous but what stands out is his human qualities. He’s a great example, in football and in life. It’s with great pity that he is leaving but the legacy that he leaves speaks for itself.”