Predrag Mijatovic described the death of Lorenzo Sanz as "one of the saddest nights" of his life after the former Real Madrid president succumbed to coronavirus.
Sanz – who served as Madrid president between 1995 and 2000 – died at the age of 76 after contracting COVID-19 amid the pandemic, his son confirmed on Saturday.
Former Madrid forward Mijatovic was brought to Madrid by Sanz in 1996, and he went on to win LaLiga, the Champions League, Intercontinental Cup and Supercopa de Espana.
"Leaving like this, without being able to say farewell, without being able to say a final goodbye, is very hard, very sad," Mijatovic said via Marca. "It's one of the saddest nights of my life.
"I was in permanent contact with Fernando [Sanz] in the last few days and I know what they were going through because not even they could talk to him, as is the case with many people that are in hospital.
"The sadness at not being able to go to visit him because of the contagiousness that is always there is very cruel. I still can't believe it. I considered him as a father. I had so much love for him.
"He was a very important person in my life. We still sent each other messages, had a meal together every now and then, we were united.
"In life, there are people that leave a mark on you and Lorenzo was one of them.
"He did everything for me, he signed me and then we experienced lots of things together. I'm very, very sad."
There have been more than 306,000 COVID-19 cases globally, with over 13,000 deaths as the virus continues to disrupt sport.