Sir Alex Ferguson says Edwin van der Sar will be sorely missed at Old Trafford both on and off the pitch when he hangs up his gloves in May.
The Dutchman will bring his illustrious career to a close at the end of the season after confirming his retirement in an interview with MUTV on Thursday.
Sir Alex has nothing but praise for the way the 40-year-old has conducted himself during his six-year career at Old Trafford and the boss says he will go down as one of the true greats in the club’s history.
"The impact he's made as a professional is the one thing I'll always remember about him,” declared Sir Alex.
“It’s not just his ability on the football field, it’s his training performances, his personality in the dressing room and the great example he sets to the young players. He's had a fantastic career and is a really special man.
“There comes a time for everyone [when you have to finish]. It’s one of the sad parts of my job when you eventually see players get to the stage when age takes over.”
Ever since the Dutchman arrived at Old Trafford following his switch from Fulham, comparisons have been made with United’s other top stopper, Peter Schmeichel. The debate over who is the best will continue, with even Sir Alex struggling to separate them.
“There will always be comparisons between Peter and Edwin - in my time they've been the two outstanding goalkeepers, not just here but in football,” added the Scot.
“Edwin has had a fantastic career – he’s played in four European Cup finals and three World Cups, while Peter, of course, as everyone recognised at the time was the best goalkeeper in the world.
“I’ve been very fortunate having two magnificent goalkeepers. They’re different personalities, but great characters.”