Jose Mourinho has hailed former Chelsea defender William Gallas, after the Frenchman announced his retirement from professional football this week at the age of 37.
Signing for the club from Marseille in 2001 for £6.2 million, Gallas made over 200 total appearances during his five seasons at Stamford Bridge, winning two Premier League titles and the League Cup.
Those honours would come in Mourinho’s first two seasons with the Blues, after the Portuguese boss replaced Claudio Ranieri at the helm in June 2004, before the 84-times capped international was controversially shipped off to Arsenal as part of the deal which saw Ashley Cole move in the opposite direction.
‘Fantastic player,’ Mourinho was quoted on the club’s official website. ‘I don’t remember a William mistake, I just remember his untouchable performances. I was so sorry to lose him at that time.
‘He’s the kind of player that when you have in your squad, instead of having 22, you have 24 or 25, because he plays right-back, left-back, and in central defence on the right or the left.
‘And now obviously he has to be very proud of his fantastic career and I wish him the best for the rest of his life.’
Gallas would go on to make 142 total appearances over four seasons at Arsenal, spending two further campaigns at north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, and a final stint with Australian A-League outfit Perth Glory before opting to hang up his boots.