Arsène Wenger has paid tribute to Pat Rice following the announcement that the Arsenal legend will leave the Club at the end of the season.

Rice has a 44-year association with Arsenal, firstly as a player when he won the Double in 1971 and led the side to FA Cup glory in 1979. Since 1996 he has worked closely with Wenger and the Frenchman will miss his long-serving right-hand man.

"It is very sad for me, because when you work with a  guy like Pat for 16 years, it is a very difficult separation," he told Arsenal Player.

"I would say it is a privilege for me to meet a guy like Pat, not only for his competence but as well for his honesty, his discretion - which is not always easy in this job - and for his confidential attitude, and for his tremendous support.

"He was one who always gave me his honest feelings, and when I made different decisions he was completely behind me. That is a privilege when you are in my position. I am convinced it will not be a complete separation. I am convinced until the last day of his life he will be at the Emirates."

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10 May 2012