Jurgen Klopp has joined the chorus of tributes for Diego Maradona after the Argentine legend passed away on Wednesday.
The World Cup winner had been in hospital in Buenos Aires after surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain earlier this month.
But his death was confirmed by the Argentine Football Association. Maradona was 60.
“It’s like, I’m 53 years old and it feels like my entire life, he was part of it,” Klopp told BT Sport.
“When I was very young – maybe eight or nine, 10 years old – I saw him for the first time and he was 16 or 17.
“In any video, juggling the ball, from that moment on he was the player for me.
“It’s like, from an international point of view there’s Pele, Maradona, Messi, if you want – one Brazilian and two Argentinians.”
Klopp also recognised that the attacking legend could be very different on and off the pitch and had two sides to him.
The Reds boss added: “I saw his documentary not too long ago; Diego was a sensational guy, Maradona had some struggles, let me say it like this. I will miss both.”
Southgate adds to Maradona tributes
England manager Gareth Southgate also paid tribute to the Argentina playmaker.
“I didn’t get to see Pele play, but Maradona I did when I was a kid. He was the best in my lifetime,” Southgate said on BBC One’s The One Show.
“He was a real genius, so comfortable with the ball.
“In Argentina there will be an absolutely incredible reaction to this. I would be surprised if they did not have a couple of days of national mourning because he is such a legendary figure there.
“It is a great shame to lose somebody of that level so young.”