Arsene Wenger has seen his achievements at Arsenal hailed by former Gunner Cesc Fabregas, with the Frenchman considered to have “changed English football”.
After 22 years in north London, a long-serving boss will be moving out of Emirates Stadium this summer.
He will depart having helped to create many happy memories, with some iconic figures of the modern era having flourished under his guidance during Premier League title and FA Cup triumphs.
Fabregas is among those to have been put on the path to superstardom by a legendary tactician, with the now Chelsea midfielder saddened to see a memorable era coming to a close.
He told Sky Sports: “He’s a special man and a special person – full of class, full of integrity and I really wish him all the best.
“Football and myself will miss him so much. It was a sad day when I heard.”
While Fabregas has personal reasons for being thankful to Wenger, with Arsenal luring him away from Barcelona to become a star in Premier League, the World Cup winner feels that English football as a whole owes a debt of gratitude to ‘Le Professeur’.
“He changed English football,” added the Spaniard.
“I remember when I was little, you watch any Premier League game and you really only saw long balls and a lot of headers and tackles.
“But then you see Manchester United and Arsenal play and it’s like you are watching another sport – and Arsene has so much to do with it.
“His philosophy has always been to play beautiful football, take youngsters to another level, bring them up to higher standards and always make them believe they can achieve.
“I can name you so many young players that nobody else in the world believed in, but he did. Then they became world class and they won everything in the game.”
Fabregas made 303 appearances for Arsenal between 2003 and 2011, claiming one FA Cup winners’ medal.
He left to return to his roots at Barcelona, but returned to England in 2014 and has helped Chelsea to two Premier League titles and a League Cup triumph.