Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has paid tribute to Diego Maradona after it was announced the football legend has died.
The tragic news that Maradona had passed away at his home in Tigre after a heart attack was announced on Wednesday and sent shockwaves around the world.
Despite retiring from the game in 1997, the Argentine is still considered as perhaps the best footballer of all time and the magic he produced on the pitch over a trophy laden 21-year career has not been forgotten.
As well as playing a staring role in Argentina’s second World Cup triumph in 1986 – knocking England out in the process with the infamous ‘Hand of God’ – he also had great success at club level with Boca Juniors, Barcelona and especially Napoli.
Maradona led the club to the two Serie A titles they have ever won in 1987 and 1990 and is still worshipped in Naples to this day as a result.
Klopp was asked about his sad passing prior to Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Atalanta and recalled the time he firs saw Maradona play.
“I am 53 years old and it feels like I watched him my entire life and was [I was] part of it,” he said.
“I was very young when I first saw him, maybe nine or 10 and I saw him when he was 16 or 17 and you just knew. He was juggling the ball and all that stuff and from then he was thee player for me.
“I saw his documentary not so long ago and Diego was a sensational guy and Maradona had some struggles, let me say it like this. I will miss them both.”
Emotional tributes and stories have been pouring in and the pundits for the match, Peter Crouch and Michael Owen, also offered their condolences.
“I had a video when I was a kid,” Crouch said on BT Sport. “The biggest compliment you can give him is probably that he inspired so many great players that we see today. He was the first sort of maverick that inspired so many.
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“In this day and age, when we’re so obsessed with stats and goals, and Ronaldo and Messi are probably out on their own in that department, really, but as a naturally gifted footballer, he has to be the best we’ve ever seen.”
While Owen said: “Absolute genius. When you watch him do some of the things with the ball, we could only dream of doing some of that. Just born to play the game.
“Just before my time, I think, I started getting into football in the 1990 World Cup, but of course, when you’re growing up, he was the best player.
“It was a given for everyone that he was the best player in the world at that time. Of course, any kid of that generation, grew up dribbling the ball around trees, around lamp posts. Absolute genius.”