Jose Mourinho says he is honoured to have given Petr Cech his first start in English football.
Cech announced today that he is set to retire at the end of the season after a 20-year career.
He arrived in England as one of the most highly-rated young goalkeepers in world football and made his Premier League debut in a 1-0 win over Manchester United in August 2004, at the beginning of Mourinho’s first title-winning campaign.
"I am honoured to have been the manager that, at such an early age, gave Petr a top Premier League number one shirt,” said the Portuguese, according to Sky Sports.
"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."
Cech won a host of honours during his time at Stamford Bridge, including three Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2012.
By that time, Mourinho had been moved on, sacked by owner Roman Abramovich in 2007 having failed to add to the European title he won with Porto in 2004.
Cech holds the record for the most Premier League clean sheets but left Chelsea in 2015 after Thibaut Courtois superseded him as number one.
He came close to winning a fourth Premier League title in 2016 with Arsenal but the Gunners ultimately fell short and finished second to eventual champions Leicester.