Arsene Wenger received the Laureus Lifetime Achievement award but it was the glowing tribute from the unlikeliest of sources Jose Mourinho that caught the eye.
The 69-year-old Wenger won the award on the back of his revolutionising English football especially in the first part of his over two decades in charge of Arsenal.
The veteran former Gunners boss and Mourinho clashed often on and off the touchline. However, Mourinho – sacked by Manchester United in December, paid handsome tribute to Wenger via a video.
The volatile Portuguese, who had two spells at Chelsea and then the turbulent one at United, acknowledged there had been moments when they had been at odds with each other.
It boiled over when Wenger pushed Mourinho on the touchline during the latter’s second period in charge of Chelsea and Mourinho made some barbed remarks about the studious Frenchman, commenting he was a “voyeur” and a “specialist in failure”.
Wenger, who was virtually unknown but proved an inspirational choice by then Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein when he was hired in 1996, accrued among other trophies three Premier League titles and lifted the FA Cup seven times.
However, perhaps his greatest achievement was the title winning side of the 2003-’04 campaign who went through the league season unbeaten.
Laureus is a global movement that aims to use the power of sport to tackle social challenges in the world.