Wayne Rooney has lauded Paul Scholes as the best player he has ever played with.
Scholes confirmed his retirement this morning, ending a 17-year career that brought him 10 league titles.
One of the quiet men at Old Trafford, Scholes did not even tell his team-mates what his future plans were.
However, it had looked increasingly likely the 36-year-old would call it a day, leaving Rooney with a sense of loss.
"He will be missed greatly," Rooney told TalkSPORT. "He is definitely the best player I have played with.
"I tried to ask him what he was doing but you don't get much out of him.
"I didn't think it would come this quickly. Everyone will be sad to see him stop. He is a great player."
Rooney could shed no light on Scholes' infamous tackling ability, although he is delighted not to be facing it.
"I saw him doing it every day," said Rooney. "Sometimes he gets the ball, other times he doesn't. I just try to get out of the way."
United defender Rio Ferdinand took to his Twitter account to hail Scholes as the top player of his generation.
He wrote: "Paul Scholes retires from football....the BEST player of his generation £fact loved every minute of playing football with him.
"Paul Scholes aka Sat Nav went from a scoring midfielder to a dictator of the game(changed his game while still at top of the game) £genius.
"Going to miss training with him + his cold cutting + dry comments on the bike while warming up next to me on any1 who deserves it! £funny."
Dwight Yorke also paid a glowing tribute to his former United team-mate.
He told Sky Sports News: "When you look back you talk about legends of the game, he's certainly up there. Twenty trophies since 1994 - he just seems to get better and better.
"I've had the honour of playing alongside him. The four years I've played alongside him, he is the best player, one of the first names on the manager's teamsheet.
"He is just a complete legend. There are not enough players like Paul Scholes around any more for my liking. 'Legend' is over-used but this guy is right up there with the very best."
Scholes was a key figure in the fabled 'Class of 92' which emerged from the Old Trafford youth system, alongside the likes of David Beckham, Gary and Phil Neville and Nicky Butt.
And former United full-back Clayton Blackmore said: "I played with him as a young lad and I thought he was the best of that bunch that came through - his awareness, his vision, he gets into the box and scores goals.
"You talk about Ryan Giggs, who's been fantastic at the club, and Scholes is in the same bracket - he's played nearly as many games and scored as many goals."
Another former United defender, Gordon McQueen, believes manager Sir Alex Ferguson will have a tough job to fill the void left by Scholes.
"His contribution's been absolutely massive and we'll see now how difficult it is replacing players like that, it's getting harder and more expensive," he added.
"There's talk about Luka Modric at Tottenham, who's a good little player but there's no way he could ever make the contribution to United that Paul Scholes has made over his career."
Scholes will move into a coaching role with the Red Devils and McQueen continued: "That surprises me a little bit, I thought he'd just disappear from the game altogether - he just seemed that type.
"He's obviously still got an enthusiasm for football and doesn't want to just walk away from Old Trafford and Sir Alex and his staff obviously see something in him and feel he's able to make a contribution."