The Manchester United boss has always held Mourinho in high regard even though the Scot has tended to come out second best in matches between their teams, feeling he can spot elements of his own character in the extrovert Portuguese coach.
Even towards the end of last season, when their rivalry hit its most controversial phase, personal attacks were kept to a minimum.
In fact, Ferguson's major complaint of Mourinho was the quality of wine he served up on his first trip to Stamford Bridge as an opposing boss three years ago.
And, aside from lamenting what he will do now with the bottle he had bought in especially for Sunday's Old Trafford showdown between United and Chelsea, Ferguson will miss not having his old foe in the visitors' dug-out.
"Jose leaving Chelsea is a disappointment for the game," said Ferguson.
"He was terrific for football and terrific for Chelsea. He brought something fresh and new to our game and I enjoyed the competition with him. I wish him well but I just don't know what I am going to do with my wine now."