After Patrick Vieira established himself as one of the greatest players in the Barclays Premier League era, it's no surprise that the man who brought him to England, Arsene Wenger, is the first to lead the tributes for the retired midfield maestro.
The 35-year-old French World Cup winner called time on his career on Thursday, and despite bowing out following Manchester City's FA Cup final victory over Stoke City, the midfield talisman will always be best remembered for his nine-year spell at Arsenal, where he won three league titles and four FA Cups.
With his significance to the club undeniable, his former boss is quick to heap praise on the midfield general.
"You can only have a lot of for what Patrick has achieved. His career is sensational. He was an exceptional player for us," he said.
"We have classy players in midfield now but Patrick was special. He was a tall player with good technique. We have exceptional players in midfield with their own character. But at Arsenal we will be forever grateful for Patrick's contribution."
Vieira's most telling contribution for Arsenal came during the 2003/04 season where he captained the club through an unbeaten league campaign, capturing his final league title as a Gunner following the record-breaking run which eventually stretched to 49 games.
He also struck the winning penalty in the 2005 FA Cup final against Manchester United, a game which turned out to be his last as an Arsenal player, and since, the last trophy won by the north Londoners.
Following spells in Serie A with Juventus and Inter Milan, he returned to the Premier League in 2010, in the midst's of Roberto Mancini's City revolution, and soon picked up the FA Cup, the club's first trophy in 35 years, and his fifth as a player.
Following a distinguished career he'll now take up a role as City's head of football development, a position he's delighted to fill.
"It's been a fantastic year and a half. I've met people who are determined to make the club progress, who have a vision of football that is similar to mine, and what l love most of all is the hard work that this football club is doing for the community," he said.
"Being part of that is something I wanted to do and that's why I'm really proud and happy to sign a new contract with City.
"I'm delighted to be part of the project ahead. It's a fantastic challenge for me because I want to learn. It's not going to be easy for me because it's a different side of the game that I don't know."
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