Jose Mourinho says four-time Premier League winning goalkeeper Petr Cech will be a "big loss" to football.
The former Manchester United and Chelsea boss says he is proud to have managed one of the modern game's best goalkeepers, who announced on Tuesday he will be retiring at the end of this season.
Mourinho and Cech arrived at Chelsea in the same summer of 2004 - and won the Premier League title in their first season in England.
Cech went on to win three more titles - and the Champions League - with Chelsea, before moving across London to his current club Arsenal.
Mourinho told Sky Sports News: "I am honoured to have been the manager that, at such an early age, gave Petr a top Premier League number one shirt.
PC1 @PetrCech you could have waited few more years to retire😡,to allow me the chance to play few more games with the Chelsea legends!!I’m looking forward to fight for the #1 jersey...again😂👍🏻Congratulations for an immense career and good luck for what comes next. 🙌🏻💙 #202cs #1 pic.twitter.com/yJxEjkVeW3— Carlo Cudicini (@Capitancarloc) January 15, 2019
"After that day, it is all about him. All about his numbers, his performances, his clean sheets, his titles and his professionalism.
"It's a big loss for football but history can't be deleted. Many congratulations on such an amazing career."
Chelsea reacted to Cech's announcement with a fitting tribute on their website, which read: "Cech moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2004 and remained first-choice keeper between our posts for a decade, maintaining such high levels of performances that he will be remembered not just as our best-ever goalie but also as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
"The 6ft 5in former Czech Republic captain won four Premier League titles during his time in west London, keeping a record 21 clean sheets during the first of those in 2004/05.
"Cech, now 36, also won the FA Cup on four occasions, the League Cup three times, the Europa League once and, most memorably of all, the Champions League in 2012, when his three penalty saves played a massive part in us lifting the trophy we craved most of all."
His current club Arsenal said: "Petr recently informed us of his decision.
"Like all football fans, we are sad about this, but completely understand and support Petr. We know Petr will continue to make a big contribution in the future, whatever he decides to do.
"Petr has been an extraordinary player during his 15 years in the Premier League and an exemplary professional on and off the pitch.
"He has been a fantastic ambassador for Arsenal, Chelsea and the Czech Republic and will always hold a special place in the affections of football fans around the world.
"Petr, we wish you every future success and thank you for everything you have done for our club, on and off the pitch, and the wider game.
"We look forward to you helping us to an exciting finish to this season and wish you well for the future."