Inter star Romelu Lukaku said he owes Antonio Conte "a lot" after penning a heartfelt farewell message to the former Nerazzurri head coach.
Conte guided Inter to their first Serie A title since 2010 but the Italian boss remarkably departed less than a month on from the club's Scudetto triumph by mutual consent on Wednesday.
The 51-year-old, who had another year remaining on his contract after arriving from Chelsea in 2019, had been tipped to leave amid Inter's financial situation and a supposed dispute over salary cuts and player sales.
Lured to San Siro by Conte in 2019, Lukaku paid tribute to the outgoing boss.
Lukaku wrote via Instagram: "2014 we spoke for the first time and we have had a bond ever since. We had many moments to work together but only god knows why it never happened earlier.
"You came at the right time and basically changed me as a player and made me even stronger mentally and more importantly we won together!
"Winning is and it's all that matters to you and I'm glad that I have had you as a coach.
"I will keep your principles for the rest of my career [physical preparation, mental and just the drive to win…] it was a pleasure to play for you!
"Thank you for all what you did. I owe you a lot…"
Former Italy boss Conte became only the second coach in Serie A history to win a Scudetto with both Inter and Juventus, joining Giovanni Trapattoni.
Conte earned his fourth Serie A title this season – only five other coaches in league history have managed at least four.
Inter gained more than 90 points in a single top-flight campaign for only the second time in their history (after 2006-07), while Conte became the first coach to achieve that tally with two different Serie A sides in the three-points-per-win era.
Lukaku scored 30 goals in all competitions this season and 24 in Serie A – only in 2016-17 for Everton did the Belgian score more (25) in a single campaign in one of Europe's top five leagues.