Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says his respect for Arsene Wenger means the pair can be friends in future.
Wenger last week announced he would be leaving Arsenal after 22 years in charge and takes the Gunners to Old Trafford for the final time on Sunday.
Mourinho and Wenger had a tempestuous rivalry during the Portuguese’s two spells at Chelsea, which became physical when the pair were involved in an altercation at Stamford Bridge in October 2014.
Mourinho said: “If he respects me even 50 per cent of what I respect him we can even be friends in the future. I have lots of respect for him.
“But the reality is that he was at Arsenal, he was the champion and I came to the country in 2004 and wanted to steal his title. That’s football.
“But in the end I respect him a lot, I tried to show that in the past couple of years there were no more problems at a different stage of my career with a different profile.”
Wenger on Wednesday admitted the “timing was not really my decision” as the Frenchman prepares to leave the Emirates Stadium at the end of the season, 12 months into a two-year contract signed last summer.
Mourinho added: “I feel sorry that after Sir Alex Ferguson – but it was obviously Sir Alex’s decision (to leave after 27 years) – the next big one, the next iconic one is leaving the Premier League.”