ROBERTO Di MATTEO has claimed he will always have a deep passion for Chelsea Football Club and insists last May's Champions League success was the highlight of his career.
Tuesday's 3-0 loss to Juventus proved to be Di Matteo's final match in charge, the result in Turin leaving the Blues third in their Champions League group and in danger of becoming the first holders to fail to reach the knockout stage.
Di Matteo finally lost patience with Torres and was ruthlessly sacked but the likeable Italian has chosen to focus on the positive.
"It was an honour for me to be appointed manager of a club that I loved playing for and one that is so close to my heart," he said in a statement issued by the League Managers Association.
"I am extremely proud of the successes and trophies that we were able to bring to the club in recent months.
"Lifting Chelsea's first Champions League trophy, in Munich, was the best achievement in club history and without doubt the highlight of my career to date, both as a player and manager.
"It is a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life.
"I have a deep and unreserved passion for Chelsea Football Club and I would like to sincerely thank all of the staff, my players and of course the Chelsea fans for their tremendous and unconditioned support in the intense time I have been the manager at the Bridge.
"I wish all of them every success for the rest of the season and beyond."
Meanwhile, Petr Cech admitted Chelsea's Champions League defeat at Juventus was the worst game of his Stamford Bridge career to date.
"The problem is, if you concede 15 shots every game, it is clear you cannot get a clean sheet," he said.
"We need to make sure that we control the defensive part of our game better than we are doing because you know as well as we play with the ball, we seem to give too much space to the opposition every time we lose the ball."