Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick described Sir Alex Ferguson as "arguably the best manager of all time" and said the mood among the squad was one of sadness when the players were told of his retirement.
But Carrick is also excited about the future at Old Trafford and the prospect of working under Everton manager David Moyes, who will succeed Ferguson at the end of the season.
"It has been a strange week to say the least. Everyone is still coming to terms with the fact he is leaving and and a new manager is coming in," Carrick told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme.
"The initial thoughts were really disappointed and quite gutted when the manager told us as a team. It was quite sad in the dressing room.
"It was a huge moment, not just for us as players, but we were well aware for the football world in general what kind of news it was.
"When the boss pulled us together and told us, everyone was disappointed, it was hard to take but we understand and appreciate everything he has done for this club and the world of football.
"He is argably the best manager of all time so for him to be sitting in the changing room and telling us it was his time to retire, it was quite an emotional time.
"I am grateful to have been able to play in one of his teams and play for this great club.
"He is an incredible manager and an incredible man. His man-management, his hunger for success, his drive and desire makes him a one-off.
"Plenty of people can have success over a short time but to keep evolving and changing his team and changing his approach to management is sensational and will never be repeated.
"I am very, very excited, very much looking forward to moving on to a new chapter with the club and in my career.
"David has done an unbelievable job at Everton over a long period of time to keep them up there challenging for Europe.
"He hasn't had the money of the top four or five clubs but he has always put a team out there to challenge.
"I am sure he will come here and have a sucessful time. He will not have to change things overnight because things have gone well of late, but he is his own man and we will all be right behind him as players."
Manchester United director Sir Bobby Charlton agreed with Carrick that Moyes has the ability to step into Ferguson's giant shoes and make a success of his tenure at Old Trafford.
"Like Alex, he has the work ethic. It is fantastic for Manchester United. He is a well-meaning lad, he is very professional and I think he will be a big success at our club," Charlton said.
Alex McLeish, who played under Ferguson at Aberdeen, wanted to remind the football world that his achievements in Scotland were the launch-pad for a remarkable career.
Ferguson broke up the dominance of Rangers and Celtic in the Scottish league and led the Dons to victory in the 1983 Cup Winners' Cup final against Real Madrid.
"That was probably missed out a little bit during the week," McLeish said.
"He really launched himself by winning his first major European trophy with a small provincial club in the north of Scotland, which was quite a feat.
"That was the triumph which alerted Manchester United."