Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed the decision to dispense of Joe Hart was the hardest of his career so far.
Hart had been City's number one before the arrival of the Spaniard in 2016, winning two Premier League titles and making 348 appearances for the club, before Guardiola sanctioned successive loan moves for the goalkeeper - to Torino in 2016/17 and West Ham in 2017/18.
This season saw Hart leave the Etihad Stadium on a permanent basis, joining Burnley for just £3.5m, with Guardiola commending the professionalism of the keeper despite deeming him surplus to requirements at the club.
"It was the hardest decision I’ve had to take as a manager because, in the short time we had together, he was so professional in the way he reacted," said Guardiola, as quoted by The Mirror ahead of his side's game against Burnley.
"This club helped to build something special with the facilities but after that there is the quality of the players in those 10 years and Joe is part of that, no doubt about it. That’s why it was not easy for me to take the decision. I always wished him the best – I said it privately and publicly."
Since his arrival at Turf Moor, Hart has been ever-present in the Premier League for Sean Dyche's side, as he prepares to return to the Etihad Stadium for the first time since his departure.
He'll come up against Ederson, who has established himself as Guardiola's number one after Claudio Bravo failed to convince, as the City boss cited the importance of making key decisions at the right time.
Guardiola added: "I don’t always take the right decisions. I have made good and bad decisions. Sometimes I have taken decisions that I have regretted afterwards.
"Sometimes it’s not just about football, it’s about human beings. Sometimes it’s not easy but it’s what it is."