Departing Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been described as “one of the greatest Premier League managers” by old rival Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 68-year-old Frenchman will leave at the end of the season after nearly 22 years at the club, 12 months before his latest contract was due to expire.
Former Manchester United boss Ferguson paid tribute to his “professionalism, talent and determination”.
Ex-Gunners striker Thierry Henry said Wenger leaves “an untouchable legacy”.
Wenger won three Premier League titles and a record seven FA Cups, including the Double in 1998 and 2002.
“I am pleased he has announced he is leaving at this stage of the season as he can now have the send-off that he truly deserves,” said Ferguson, who won 13 league titles in 26 years at Old Trafford, before retiring in 2013.
“He is, without doubt, one of the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man.
“It is a great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves.”
“It is not just his football knowledge and the way he changed the game in this country but as a human being through difficult times for me and my wife.
“Arsene is not only the greatest manager in Arsenal’s history, he has personally changed the face of the game in this country.
“We had a team who enjoyed a drink and he changed everything about psychology, rehydration, training and everyone followed suit.”
Club captain Per Mertesacker said he felt “sad and emotional” on hearing of Wenger’s departure.
“There have been a lot of challenges, a lot of highs and lows, but how he went through tough times has taught me a lot about his character and about how to trust people and get the people in the right places to be successful,” he said.
The Gunners are sixth in the league and set to miss out on a top-four spot for the second straight season, with their hopes of reaching the Champions League resting on winning the Europa League.
Henry said it would be “an amazing achievement” if Wenger could sign off by winning a trophy.
“His legacy is untouchable. Managers, fans from other teams – (they talk about) how Arsene changed Arsenal,” he told Sky Sports.
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