Pep Guardiola hopes Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso remain in football after bringing down the curtain on their glittering playing careers with Bayern Munich this weekend.
Lahm and Alonso will play professionally for the final time when the Bundesliga champions host Freiburg.
Guardiola led Lahm for three seasons between 2013 and 2016 and brought Alonso to Bavaria from Real Madrid at the end of his first season in charge.
Speaking ahead of Manchester City's final match of the Premier League season at Watford, Guardiola hailed two men he views as "exceptional in all terms", while he has no doubt Alonso – a 2010 World Cup winner with Spain – will follow him into the dugout.
"Philipp, it will be a surprise if he becomes a coach. When we spoke about that when we were together he said, 'no way'," he said.
"But when I was a football player a lot of my team-mates said the same and after they are a coach.
"In another role, hopefully Philipp will stay in world football because we need him. He's so good in all the terms
"Xabi will definitely be a coach. They are so intelligent. They will do what they believe, that is the most important thing
"Both have a lot of personality. They are exceptional in all terms – as human beings, as team-mates as football players. You cannot imagine how good.
"Hopefully they can enjoy the last day in the Allianz Arena with their fans. They have to be so proud of what they have done."
Guardiola added: "They both helped me a lot in our period working together. They always had curiosity about which team we are going to face, how we are going to play and what they have to do.
"I was a lucky, lucky guy to have those two guys with me in that period in Germany. All the best in their lives, their careers and hopefully they can come back soon in football."
Steven Gerrard established a formidable midfield partnership with Alonso during their time together at Liverpool and the ex-England captain sent a video message to Bayern for the 35-year-old.
"I just want to say a huge congratulations on your retirement," said Gerrard, who retired last year following an 18-month stint with LA Galaxy. "What a special career, a fantastic player.
"The best passer of a ball I've ever played with and you deserve all the accolades you get, mate. What a special career for club and country.
"I'm very jealous of you having a World Cup winner’s medal, I'm very jealous of you having league titles in Germany and Spain, but you deserve it mate.
"I couldn't ask for a better midfield partner and when you left, it broke my heart. You'll always have a special place at this football club [Liverpool] and you're always welcome to come and visit."
|Can will ´give everything´ at Liverpool despite Juventus talks|
|One Direction star trained with Mourinho´s Chelsea|
|Goretzka asks Schalke fans to not turn on him after agreeing Bayern deal|
|Youngs agrees new Leicester deal|
|Wozniacki slams ´rude´ umpire after Bertens win|
|Van Persie secures return to Feyenoord|
|Conte should replace Wenger at Arsenal, claims Carragher|
|Kimmich named Germany’s 2017 Player of the Year|
|Nadal´s best required against in-form Schwartzman|
|Moyes denies scouting Batshuayi and deals Chelsea blow with Carroll injury|
|Vunipola´s Six Nations hopes dashed as 12-week absence confirmed|
|No one like Ronaldinho until Messi - Guardiola lavishes praise on Brazil great|
|Simeone shrugs off mentality concerns at Atletico Madrid|
|Going for gold? Neymar meets Beckham in matching jackets|
|You think I change my mind that quick? – Klopp faithful to No.1 Karius|
|Conte backs Morata to overcome disciplinary concerns|
|Lloris a doubt for Southampton game, confirms Pochettino|
|Pieters edges into Abu Dhabi lead|
|Klopp doubts Alexis Sanchez tug-of-war decided by money|
|Conte admits Pedro dived|
|Valencia tie down Torres amid Real Madrid, Barcelona reports|
|Bangladesh claim record win over Sri Lanka|
|Congratulations! Guardiola offers well wishes to United-bound Sanchez|
|Pele pulls out of London event amid conflicting health reports|
|Conte would be ´happy´ for transfer help|
|Kontaveit dumps Ostapenko out, Wozniacki battles through|
|Sanchez to United not done at all, insists Mourinho|
|Rafa sails through, Kyrgios books Dimitrov showdown|
|Emery refuses to indulge Neymar-Cavani penalty debate|
|Wozniacki battles past stubborn Bertens|
|Goretzka chose Bayern over England, Spain and Italy – Heynckes|
|BBBofC ready to lift Fury suspension|
|I would reject such players – Heynckes slams ´selfish´ Aubameyang|
|Kyrgios proves cool credentials to Will Smith in Tsonga win|
|Western Sydney Wanderers 0 Melbourne Victory 3: Barbarouses extends purple patch|
|Conte likes Dzeko but Chelsea have made no offer, says agent|
|Goretzka´s Bayern move good for Bundesliga, suggests Rummenigge|
|Root guides England home as Finch century proves in vain again|
|Walcott left Arsenal with his things in bin bags|
|Nadal breezes past Dzumhur in Melbourne|
|Schalke confirm Goretzka will join Bayern|
|Sergi Roberto renews Barca deal until 2022|
|Fernandinho seals extended Manchester City contract|
|Ceballos knee knock to be assessed after Real Madrid Copa win|
|O´Sullivan says snooker is ´weighted towards numpties´ as he repeats World Championship threat|
|Hamsik has no doubts over Napoli future|
|Corchia determined to repay Montella´s faith at Sevilla|
|Arsenal or Manchester United – who wins from the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan deal?|
|Black Caps survive Pakistan comeback to claim series sweep|
|Celtics lose without Irving as Cavaliers end skid|
|I can play against anyone, says 15-year-old Kostyuk|
|I would love to coach PSG – Mancini|
|Now an All-Star, Joel Embiid ´might have to pass´ on Rihanna|
|Merson: Mkhitaryan will be a sensation at Arsenal|
|Aussie debutant Carey replaces Paine for second ODI|
|Wins over substance for Varane and Real Madrid|
|Arsenal´s Giroud the answer for Chelsea, says Parlour|
|Rahm shoots 62 to lead CareerBuilder Challenge|
|Wenger: Sanchez exit won´t hurt like Van Persie|
|LeBron, Curry named captains for NBA All-Star game|
|Zidane hopes late Leganes win is turning point for Real Madrid|
|Magic´s Afflalo handed two-game ban for fighting|
|De Gea happy to delay Man Utd contract talks|
|Celtics guard Irving misses 76ers game with shoulder injury|
|LeBron James determined to work through ´very challenging´ Cavaliers season|
|Leganes 0 Real Madrid 1: Asensio´s late goal lifts pressure on Zidane in Copa quarter-final|
|Toulalan follows Gourvennec out of Bordeaux|
|Texans DE J.J. Watt showing positive signs with rehab|
|CC Sabathia likes the Yankees being a ´hated team´ again|
|UCI president wants Team Sky to suspend Froome|