Shakhtar Donetsk skipper Darijo Srna led the tributes to Mircea Lucescu following the coach’s announcement that he would leave after 12 years in charge.
The 70-year-old Romanian led the Ukrainian club to eight domestic league and six domestic cup titles, as well as their first European trophy in the form of the 2009 UEFA Cup.
He was also voted Ukrainian coach of the year on eight occasions and, according to Srna, his influence upon the players went beyond football.
“This is life, we can’t change it,” said Srna.
“Lucescu is a Shakhtar legend. He lifted the club to the highest level. He was our teacher not only in football, but in life.
“But we have to move on. Now we must learn how to live without ‘Mister’.”
Lucescu himself, meanwhile, was delighted to leave on a high having seen his side secure the Ukrainian Cup with a 2-0 victory over Zorya and insisted he is keen to extend his 37-year coaching career.
“I thought we deserved to win today,” he said.
“And I want to thank everyone who has been with me and the team for the last 12 years.
“I’m proud of what we’ve done at this club and the players will always be in my heart.
“I previously said that I would behave in a civil way until my deal expires, until my last match and that I would neither talk to anyone, nor negotiate on the future.
“I did not want to risk our league performance, along with that in the Europa League and the Ukrainian Cup.
“But now I will be a free coach who will seek another club.”
Shakhtar finished second in the Ukrainian Premier League behind Dynamo Kiev this season, while they were beaten by eventual winners Sevilla in the semi-finals of the Europa League.
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