Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, never a man associated with admitting fault, broke with type by issuing a heartfelt apology to the German international midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger in the wake of his departure from Old Trafford this week.
The 32-year-old former Bayern Munich legend will go down as one of the great disappointments in recent Premier League history, at least when considering the reputation he brought with him to English football and his relative failure on the field.
Even under Louis van Gaal, the United manager who paid Bayern £14.4 million for his service in the summer of 2015, Schweinsteiger endured a disappointing, injury-plagued debut campaign, one which Mourinho now admits jaundiced his own opinion of the veteran star.
Frozen out of Mourinho’s plans upon his arrival last summer, Schweinsteiger eventually forced his way back into the first team squad but still managed only four appearances under the current United manager, none of them in the league, before signing with MLS side Chicago Fire this week.
His departure, however, brought the rarest of responses from Mourinho - an unqualified apology for his behaviour.
“I do regret it, yeah,” said Mourinho. “What would I do different? I would let him be in the squad.
“I knew in that moment we had too many players. If you remember we had many players in a doubtful situation.
“But after knowing him as a professional and as a person, the way he was behaving and the way he was respecting my decisions as a manager, yes I regret, and it is no problem for me admitting it and he knows that because I told him.
“What I knew about him was a season full of injuries, a season where he almost didn't play, a season where he was having treatment outside of the club, and I thought that was not right, the mentality was not right.
“It was the kind of player who I would not like to have in the club.”
It was the last thing I told him before he left – I was not right with you once, I have to be right to you now.
Inexplicably, Schweinsteiger retained cult status among United supporters until the bitter end of his time in Manchester, even though the sum total of his league appearances for the club amount to 13 starts and five substitute appearances over nearly two full campaigns.
However, Mourinho is adamant that he did not handle the situation well and was unfair in his treatment of the veteran star, and, as way of an apology, allowed him to fly to the United States this week even though the United manager admits he could have used his services in Manchester over the remaining weeks of a busy season.
“He is in the category of players I feel sorry for something I did to him,” said Mourinho. “I don't want to speak about him as a player, I don't want to speak about him as a player I would or would not buy. I want to speak about him as a professional, as a human being.
“It was the last thing I told him before he left – I was not right with you once, I have to be right to you now.
“So when he was asking me to let him leave, I had to say yes, you can leave because I did it once, I cannot do it twice.
“I could not stop him to go, even though I know we have so many matches and probably would need him for a few matches or a few periods.
“So I feel sorry for the first period with him, he knows that, I am happy that he knows, because I told him.
“I will miss a good guy, a good pro, a very good influence in training. But I had to let him go and now publicly wish him and his wife a very happy life in Chicago.”
United will be without five players - suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera plus injured Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Paul Pogba - when they return from the international break against West Brom.