Jurgen Klopp has paid tribute to Franz Beckenbauer after the death of his compatriot, aged 78, with a story about a meeting between the two Germans and Pele.
Beckenbauer is widely known as one of the greatest players ever, revolutionising the centre-half position, instead opting to play as a ‘sweeper’.
He was one of just three people to have won the World Cup as a player and a manager, the others being Mario Zagallo, who has also died in the last week, and Didier Deschamps.
While his later years may have been blighted by allegations of corruption regarding his role in securing Germany the 2006 World Cup, Klopp gave a touching tribute to the footballing legend.
"He was a fantastic person; Germany’s best footballer ever, but he was an even better person and that’s really difficult to reach but he did that."
Jürgen Klopp pays tribute to footballing icon Franz Beckenbauer ?? pic.twitter.com/MDN66gVH1g
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On LFC TV, Liverpool manager said: “He brought the World Cup 2006 to Germany, which was the greatest event in my country ever that I experienced.
“Germany presented itself in that time in the best possible way and it was all led by him and it was all made possible by him. And the fun part; Pele came over and they were obviously really good mates.
“So, when we had a TV show and I was there as an expert or a pundit, and Franz came in and then Pele came in and I honestly thought, ‘How on Earth can my life get better from this point?!’
“I had the two greatest players of the game of all time, of my mind, standing next to me and it was just nice to see how they are, how they behaved, how respectful they were, how friendly they were.
“It was a life-changing experience for me, to be honest.”
Klopp was born in 1967, seven years before Beckenbauer won the World Cup with West Germany, but his elder still had a massive influence on the Liverpool manager’s life.
The boss recalled: “Around his 75th birthday, so three years ago, Heidi, his wife, asked me to record a video message for the birthday and I told him the short summary of what I told you now.
“I watched it yesterday and it was really tough because I realised then that he probably saw that, he saw it definitely, and so I could tell him that because it is nothing you would say to somebody in a phone call.”
A true playing great who stands apart from the every other defender in history.