“Yes, he [Ferguson] was almost like a brother to me,” Lippi tells the Daily Mail.
“We exchanged many gifts. I brought him the Turin gianduiotti (chocolate) for his grandchildren but he ate them in the end.
“Even the wine, the good one from my Tuscany. He loved sending me the Matrioskas, the Russian ones, with boxes in the boxes containing his 1971 Whiskey Maccallan. One day I have to call Alex and ask him for another box.
Lippi also spoke of his admiration for no-nonsense midfielder Roy Keane.
‘I loved Keane,’ he said. ‘He was very close to moving to Juventus but then failed to negotiate. I also loved (Paul) Scholes: he would have liked it anywhere and always played.
‘(Ole Gunnar) Solskjaer was very good as a player and I hope he will do very well as a coach: he deserves it.’
The Italian was once close to a move to the Premier League himself.
‘Yes, I was very close to Tottenham when I was coaching Juventus,’ he said.
‘They were very nice to me by contacting my son Davide. But I didn’t feel like leaving Turin and Juventus. For me, Juve was like Manchester United for Ferguson: a unique club that I loved to bits.
‘I didn’t speak English well and that was also a reason I declined. Someone told me that Ferguson also didn’t speak English well because he was Scottish!’