Sir Alex Ferguson has cast doubt on whether Jose Mourinho will return to management in England.
Ferguson and Mourinho enjoy a healthy mutual respect
The Manchester United boss has been in touch with the Portuguese since his shock exit from Chelsea and believes his next job will be on the continent.
"I don't know if he will come back into the English game," he told the League Managers Association website.
"I think Jose will end up at a top team in Spain or Italy, I'm almost certain of that."
After admitting they had been in touch a "couple of times" since Mourinho's surprise departure in mid-September, the 65-year-old Scot speculated on his former rival's immediate future.
"There certainly is no-one on the radar at the moment obviously, he's taking a break and I think he's aiming to come back fresh," said Ferguson.
"I don't think there's any problem about him coming back into management, I think it's where he comes back in and I don't think anyone has any clues to that at this moment in time."
Ferguson and Mourinho first encountered each other when the latter masterminded Porto's surprise victory over Manchester United in the 2003/4 Champions League campaign.
There have been occasional moments of tension between the pair but they enjoyed a much closer relationship with each other than either did with the likes of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Liverpool manager Raphael Benitez.
Mourinho, who followed up his 2004 Champions League triumph with Porto with six trophies in three years at Chelsea, is believed to have turned down the newly-vacant manager's role at Valencia this week.
He has also dismissed speculation over the Tottenham and England national team jobs.
After leaving Stamford Bridge by "mutual consent", the 44-year-old said he wanted to learn another language as he considers his options.
"I have to choose between Italian and German," he said.
Ferguson also warned that managers cannot be out of the game too long because they will be forgotten - although he conceded that will not happen to Mourinho.
Mourinho himself has previously insisted he will return to work in English football one day.
"I will come back and manage here, but I don't want it as my next step - it must be another country, another experience, another football," he said in September.