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The best football (soccer) coach in the world for the past 12 years said:

Envy is the biggest tribute that the shadows do to the man.

Where does the phrase come from?

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    I would say it's nonsense. I've heard/seen phrases such as "envy is the biggest tribute", and also something about your shadow being your best admirer, so I assume that it's a jumble of a couple of metaphors. And Google doesn't find the quote, except when quoting Mourinho.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 14 '15 at 12:25
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It isn't an English phrase, but since Jose Mourinho is familiar with many languages and cultures, maybe it is there somewhere. But if you are looking for the meaning of the quote, then here is what I found as the most logical explanation suited to the circumstances.

It's a metaphor at its finest, really
Shadows follow a man around, and all that a shadow can do is partially resemble the outline of the man, so it’s less than the man, hence the use of "envy", as in a shadow ‘wishes’ it could be what it’s shadowing. Now, compare ‘shadows’ to those that follow (i.e. in this case, the press/paparazzi), and "they", like the shadows, don’t measure up to the man, either, and "envy" who they are following around. I mean, it’s deep, and cuts right to the bone. He basically just told all of the press that they are less than he is, and run around wishing they could be him.

This was contributed by a user, Simon Gabriel, in one of the most popular Chelsea FC fan blogs. Here is the link. We Ain't Got No History

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    Seems to me that the guy was trying to say something profound, stuck together a couple of metaphors, more or less at random, and ended up with nonsense. Since he said it, folks have been throwing the quotation around, trying to make sense of it. The above explanation makes no more sense than the original quote.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 14 '15 at 17:54
  • Seems to me that the guy was trying to say something profound, stuck together a couple of metaphors, more or less at random, and ended up with nonsense. So, he was coaching. Mar 17 '15 at 15:04

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