Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to Franz Beckenbauer on Tuesday, saying he was inspired by his country’s World Cup-winning player and coach throughout his career.
Beckenbauer, who captained the team to World Cup victory in 1974 and won the tournament again as manager in 1990, died on Sunday aged 78, his family said on Monday.
“I don’t want to sound like a broken record but the world will be really a different place without him, at least for me,” Klopp told the club website.
“I got the privilege to get to know him a little bit better around the World Cup 2006 and already in 2005 (with) the Confederations Cup.
“The way he did it, light-hearted, friendly, laughing, serious in the right moments, this was really inspirational. He never pretended to be better than he was, he knew always that he needed help, especially as a manager.”
Klopp said he was unable to speak with German media on Monday as he needed time to process Beckenbauer’s death as he played a huge role in his life.
“He taught me something that I didn’t know at that time that I will need in my life: that you can be famous, you can be a lot in the media, everybody is talking about you and you still can be absolutely yourself,” Klopp said.
The manager also recalled his personal conversations with Beckenbauer and his wife Heidi during the Germany great’s 75th birthday celebrations and added that he spoke regularly to Beckenbauer and his family during his illness.
“A few months ago we had a phone call and he was alright but you realised he was not in a top shape and he is now in a better place,” he added.