Who you got? Sir Alex or the Special One?
Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson and Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho are two of the most successful managers in the modern game. Combined, the two have won four UEFA Champions League trophies and more than 20 domestic titles. Each has earned the respect of the other over the years, and Ferguson has even been quoted as saying he'd like Mourinho to succeed him at United.
So, then, comparing them would be little more than a case of apples and oranges—right?
Well, since we like to start debates around here, we figured it would be a good idea to fire one up concerning these two. Clearly, Ferguson has had the better, longer, more distinguished career. But how have the two rivals fared against each other?
That's what we're here to tackle today. We'll be examining the 13 matches between the two, with the contests divided up by seasons.
The results might surprise you.
This is when the rivalry started. Manchester United and Porto met in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 in February and March of 2004, with Porto coming out on top with a 3-2 aggregate victory.
Porto 2-1 Manchester United, Champions League Round of 16, First Leg, February 25, 2004
Manchester United took an early lead through Quinton Fortune, but Porto grabbed a victory with two goals from Benni McCarthy, one either side of halftime.
United skipper Roy Keane was sent off in the 87th minute for a stamp on Porto keeper Vitor Baia. It was the 11th red card of his career.
Manchester United 1-1 Porto, Champions League Round of 16, Second Leg, March 9, 2004
Paul Scholes put United ahead on the night, and seemingly into the quarterfinals on away goals, with a first-half header. But Porto's Francisco Costinha scored a last-minute equalizer after United keeper Tim Howard fumbled McCarthy's late free kick.
Porto went on to win the Champions League, and Mourinho—whose joyful celebration after the United win became famous—earned his first two positive results over Ferguson.
Mourinho signed on as Chelsea's manager in the summer and immediately led the cash-infused Blues to their first title in 50 years. Along the way, Chelsea beat United three out of the four times they met.
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United, Premier League, August 15, 2004
Eidur Gudjohnsen (pictured) scored in the 15th minute, and Mourinho's Chelsea killed off the match in both teams' season opener.
Both the result and the style of play would turn into themes over the course of the season.
Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United, Carling Cup Semifinal First Leg, January 12, 2005
Both teams had chances but neither scored in a tight, scoreless draw. Wayne Rooney's header came close in the first half, and United's Gabriel Heinze cleared Frank Lampard's shot off the line.
Manchester United 1-2 Chelsea, Carling Cup Semifinal Second Leg, January 26, 2005
Lampard opened the scoring in the 29th minute, Giggs drew level for United in the 67th and Damien Duff scored the winner for Chelsea five minutes from time at Old Trafford.
Chelsea went on to win the Carling Cup, beating Liverpool 3-2 after extra time in the final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
Manchester United 1-3 Chelsea, Premier League, May 10, 2005
And Mourinho maintained his dominance over Ferguson.
Ferguson broke his jinx against Mourinho in 2005, but Chelsea went on to more glory the following spring.
Manchester United 1-0 Chelsea, Premier League, November 6, 2005
Darren Fletcher scored with a first-half header as United snapped Chelsea's 40-match unbeaten run in league play.
More significantly for our purposes, Ferguson beat Mourinho for the first time.
Chelsea 3-0 Manchester United, Premier League, April 29, 2006
Mourinho had the last laugh, though, as Chelsea clinched their second consecutive title with a 3-0 drubbing of United at Stamford Bridge.
William Gallas, Joe Cole and Ricardo Carvalho scored in a match that is also remembered for the metatarsal injury suffered by Wayne Rooney.
Manchester United overtook Chelsea in Mourinho's final season in the English Premier League, but the Blues defeated United head to head in the FA Cup final.
Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea, Premier League, November 26, 2006
Louis Saha scored in the first half as United looked to move six points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table. But Ricardo Carvalho's second-half header earned Chelsea the draw.
Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United, Premier League, May 9, 2007
United had already clinched the title, and with the FA Cup final looming, the teams played out a dour, scoreless draw.
Mourinho argued with referee Graham Poll after the final whistle.
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (a.e.t.), FA Cup Final, May 19, 2007
After 90 scoreless minutes, Didier Drogba scored the winner—his 33rd goal of the season—in the 116th minute.
Chelsea's victory ended United's hopes of winning a league and cup double.
Mourinho left Chelsea following the 2006-07 season and joined Inter Milan in time for the 2008-09 campaign. Inter and United met, somewhat inevitably, in the Champions League Round of 16, pitting the legendary managers in a rematch of their first encounter back in 2004.
Inter 0-0 Manchester United, Champions League Round of 16, First Leg, February 24, 2009
Manchester United 2-0 Inter, Champions League Round of 16, Second Leg, March 11, 2009
Nemanja Vidic and Cristiano Ronaldo scored from headers as United eliminated Inter and Ferguson recorded his second victory over Mourinho.
United, the defending champions, would eventually lose to Barcelona in the final.
Ferguson and Mourinho haven't met since 2009, but with Mourinho now leading Real Madrid, the two are sure to face off again. Their encounters so far have produced several classics.
Here are the all-time results in matches managed Ferguson against Mourinho:
Mourinho Wins: 6
Ferguson Wins: 2
Ferguson holds the career edge, of course, with 15 domestic titles (12 at United and three with Aberdeen) to Mourinho’s six (two each at Porto, Chelsea and Inter). Both have won the Champions League twice.
In the head-to-head matchups, however, Mourinho holds a clear edge.