In what was either a sincere and touching tribute or an extremely subtle example of managerial 'mind games', Pep Guardiola spoke ahead of last night Manchester derby about his deep and abiding love for United's Michael Carrick.
"I'm a big fan of Michael," the City manager gushed over the 35-year-old.
"He is one of the best holding midfielders I've ever seen in my life by far.
"He's the level of Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets."
And so, at the end of the stalemate at the Etihad, all eyes were on Pep who was then seen sprinting open-armed towards Carrick, holding a homemade mix tape, eyes pregnant with longing, to whisper something softly into his ear.*
"Michael – you complete me."
"Michael – let us run from this cruel game and be free together."
"Michael – the sun has never seemed so bright, the stars have never shone so clear, the moon never as round and true as when I gaze upon thy face."
When quizzed about what was said during the exchange, Carrick revealed the answer to Sky Sports:
"He just said congratulations and well played."
*They briefly embraced as they were coming off the pitch.