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'one of the nicest men in football' Tributes from a devastated game

"I am totally devastated. Gary was one of the nicest men in football and someone I am honoured to call a team-mate and friend. Words cannot begin to describe how sad I feel at hearing this awful news," -- Wales team-mate Ryan Giggs, above

"Gary was a magnificent person, bright, fun and a wonderful family man -- he lit up every room he walked into. I am proud to have been his friend and will miss him dreadfully," -- Alan Shearer, right, who played alongside Speed at Newcastle

"He was a star in the true sense. For him -- at 42 -- to leave us is such a tragic loss. He had a life of success to look forward to I'm sure. I've known Gary since 1988 when I joined Leeds and I've rarely come across a better balanced, lovely, genuine person," -- former Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson

"To say I am devastated is an understatement. Today the world has lost a great football manager but even more sadly a great man. He will be missed by all," - Wales captain Aaron Ramsey

"He wasn't just a great player, he was a great person. He was always great to be around, the life and soul of the party, a good friend," -- Rob Lee, who played alongside Speed at Newcastle

"People are just stunned. I saw [former Wales striker] John Hartson earlier and I said 'have you heard about Gary?' The big man just cried and cried. We cuddled each other. Gary was the ultimate professional," -- Bobby Gould, Wales manager 1995-1999

"He was a smashing lad and was really well respected. It's at times like this that the football becomes a wee bit irrelevant. He was a very respected man in and around football, not only for his ability but for the guy as a person. I signed Gary for £5m from Everton and he did a fantastic job for us at Newcastle, during the time I was there and after I'd left as well," -- Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, right

"I'm completely shocked and saddened. A great guy and a better team-mate you couldn't wish for. Speedo, RIP mate," - Tony Dorigo, who played alongside Speed in Leeds's 1992 title-winning side

"Love the guy and everything he represents as a professional. All my prayers go to the Speed family. Strength," -- Everton striker Louis Saha

"It is an unbelievably sad day. Speedo was a true friend and a very, very popular man. We signed on the same day and played in the youth and reserve teams together. We also did all our coaching badges together. He was a good friend and this is a very sad day," -- Leeds manager Simon Grayson, a former team-mate of Speed at Elland Road

"As a footballer, Gary Speed was the player any young midfielder aspired to be. He had it all, lovely left foot, sensational leap, he could tackle and score and run all day. He was an athlete, but not a destroyer. He was a classy footballer," -- Jamie Redknapp

"My first Premier League game was against him, he showed me in that game what British football is about," -- Xabi Alonso

"My first day at Leeds he went out of his way to look after me and help me settle in. A hero," -- David O'Leary, right

"Gary was good for Wales and Wales were good to Gary. He was a hero to ordinary people," Tony Cascarino, left

"Cannot believe the news that Gary Speed has passed away, RIP. My thoughts and are with his family, friends and all at Wales," -- Paul McGrath, below

"Gary was a pal, a team mate, my captain and my brother and at times a dad to me. I idolised him even though he was only five years older than me," -- John Hartson

"He was a real football man and a true gentleman. He will be greatly missed," -- Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni


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