Jürgen Klopp hailed Georginio Wijnaldum's massive impact on and off the pitch at Liverpool as he delivered a heartfelt farewell to the midfielder.
The Netherlands international will join Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain when his Reds contract expires at the end of this month, it was announced on Thursday.
Wijnaldum departs Anfield after a five-year spell during which he was a fundamental figure in Klopp’s men’s success, including triumphs in the Premier League, Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
Speaking after Wijnaldum’s move to PSG was confirmed, the manager detailed the enormous impact the No.5 had on the club, not only as an outstanding footballer but as an inspiring person.
“As a team we said our goodbyes to Gini at Anfield after the final game of the season. There was the public farewell on the pitch with the guard of honour. But then a more private occasion also,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
“It was difficult for all of us because of how much this astonishing person means to the group. He’s been a big part of our lives for so long. There is nothing I won’t miss about him.
“I will miss the player he is like crazy – highest-quality ability, one of the smartest players I have ever had the privilege to coach. His contribution was off the scale, a manager’s dream.
“But as a person he’ll leave just as big a hole. A more giving individual you could not wish to meet. Gini is very strong and opinionated, but his motivation is only to help the team – always. His teammates adored him and respected him in equal measure.
“His smile lit up our workplace. He was a huge part of our beating heart.
“Of course, he is now someone else’s and on behalf of the team we wish him great success in France with PSG. It is no surprise he’s joined such an amazing club. Knowing his personality, he will fall in love with the city and the team – and they with him.
“Farewell, Gini: you came, you saw, you won the lot. You’re a Liverpool legend now and forever.”