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."
|Goretzka confident over World Cup fitness|
|No pain, just cramp - Farrell allays injury fears|
|Sri Lanka to work with ICC after pitch-doctoring reports|
|Champions League Diary: Madrid fan´s brass act, Liverpool lap it up|
|FIFA dampens Platini´s ban reversal hopes|
|Germany unsure over Boateng´s full-training return date|
|Wyles bows out in style as Saracens regain Premiership crown|
|Fucsovics brushes aside Gojowczyk to claim first ATP crown|
|Not in my lifetime - Shilton will ´never forgive´ Maradona|
|Gutsy Thiem clinches Lyon title to build Roland Garros momentum|
|Martinez accuses Real Sociedad of blocking Manchester City move|
|LeBron focused on treatment, sleep ahead of game seven|
|Froome felt in control despite ´brutal´ Giro|
|Nadal to face lucky loser Bolelli after Dolgopolov withdrawal|
|Iniesta welcomed by thousands of fans at Vissel Kobe presentation|
|Monaco crash a ´brutal lesson´ for Verstappen|
|Ricciardo seals Monaco pole as Verstappen misses qualifying|
|Neuer will not be a World Cup back-up - Low|
|Froome on the brink of history with Giro glory all-but secure|
|No reward for Riske as Larsson claims Nuremberg Cup|
|Andreolli expects ´extraordinary motivator´ Emery to succeed at Arsenal|
|Verstappen misses Q1 after FP3 crash|
|Griezmann ´a gift´ at €100m, says Dugarry|
|Highlanders grind down Reds, Chiefs hold off Waratahs|
|Injured Bacsinszky pulls out of French Open|
|Panthers tame Dragons to earn share of NRL lead|
|David Luiz tips Derby candidate Lampard to thrive|
|Number one in professionalism, honesty and humility - Langer lays down Australia targets|
|Relegated Las Palmas snap up AEK title mastermind Jimenez|
|Neymar reiterates desire to work with Guardiola|
|Imagine what I´ll be like if we win! Carragher leads raucous Salah chanting|
|LeBron carried us home, as usual - Lue lauds star man as Cavs force decider|
|Liverpool know Madrid are favourites, says Morientes|
|Liverpool chairman Werner promises Klopp transfer funds|
|Pakistan´s Babar ruled out of England series|
|Gudjohnsen tips Madrid to beat Liverpool, despite star trio|
|It does something to you - Van Dijk reveals why he joined Liverpool|
|Gleyber Torres makes history as Yankees beat Angels|
|MLS Review: LA Galaxy edge San Jose Earthquakes in California Clasico|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Who will win the Champions League final?|
|LeBron James saves Cavaliers from elimination|
|Peru FA president weighs in on Paolo Guerrero´s drugs ban appeal|
|Jurgen Klopp calls for ´big balls´ from Liverpool|
|Kevin Love ruled out of Game 6 for Cavaliers after concussion|
|Prescott says Cowboys don´t need top receiver|
|MLB extends Roberto Osuna´s administrative leave for third time|
|Rose shoots 64 to take Fort Worth lead|
|James Harden not worried about shooting struggles|
|Green: Spurs star Leonard wants to stay in San Antonio|
|Griezmann could help Barcelona a lot, says Umtiti|
|Moyano hat-trick helps Jaguares sink 14-man Sharks|
|Mbappe rejected Real Madrid for PSG - Monaco´s Vasilyev|
|Rovers rock Warriors as Wolves bite back to see off Hull|
|Thiem through in Lyon as Fucsovics closes in on historic first title|
|Hughes signs three-year Southampton deal|
|Barty suffers injury scare in Strasbourg|
|Ruthless Montpellier overpower Lyon to reach Top 14 final|
|Rabiot hits out at Deschamps criticism|
|Low: Messi more complete than Ronaldo|
|Marvellous McIlroy moves three clear at Wentworth|
|Brighton confirm deal for Deportivo striker Andone|
|No offers for Lyon captain Fekir, Aulas claims|
|Pakistan turn the screw to frustrate England at Lord´s|
|Rashid leaves Knight Riders in the shade as Sunrisers reach IPL final|
|Madrid not favourites for Champions League final - Zidane|
|Don´t compare Salah to Messi and Ronaldo, says Ramos. They´re in a different orbit!|
|Van Dijk: Liverpool is my team, Anfield is my home|
|Ronaldo at ´140 per cent´ is good enough for Zidane|
|People like to talk - Marcelo responds to misquoted Klopp|
|French Open 2018: Hopes of sensational Serena success raised by Roland Garros draw|