Aitor Karanka claims Jose Mourinho gave him the confidence he needed to take the step into management with Middlesbrough.
The 43-year-old Spanish tactician was working as his country's Under-16s coach when he got the call from Mourinho to become his assistant manager at Real Madrid in 2010.
Karanka spent three years working alongside the current Manchester United boss before departing in summer 2013 when Carlo Ancelotti was brought in as manager at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The chance to take a first step into management came up in November of that year with Boro, who were struggling at the wrong end of the Championship at the time.
And Karanka, who has since guided the Teessiders back to the Premier League in under three years at the Riverside Stadium, claims Mourinho was crucial to his decision to make the bold move.
In an interview with FIFA TV, he said: "It's strange because it never crossed my mind to be a manager after retiring from football.
"But after working with Jose for three years, I realised those fears you might have had or things that happened during your career with certain managers that might have put you off aren't important anymore.
"Jose has a manner - you watch the player, you talk to the player and explain things. You speak to them honestly, and you realise things can work.
"Right now, I love (management)."