His voice cracked with emotion at times and in the next breath he laughed at questions and joked with his boss, Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc.
In short, Jurgen Klopp’s farewell press conference was much like his seven years at the club: engaging, compelling and infused with passion.
Klopp is leaving Borussia Dortmund after seven seasons in which he has won two Bundesliga titles, the German Cup and reached the Champions League final, in 2013 at Wembley. Wednesday was not quite ‘auf wiedersehen’ as there are eight more matches of the season to play.
Yet an era is coming to an end and not just at Dortmund, but – and this is tribute to the charisma he has evoked during his time there – in European football.
Like Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, Klopp has elevated himself into the realms of the cult manager. He is distinct in that he is much more open than Guardiola and seemingly much less calculating than Mourinho, though that in itself is, of course, a calculation.
Though there is much more to Dortmund than just Klopp, at times it seems that it has been his sheer force of personality which has carried the club.
Arsene Wenger was less than amused when he compared Arsenal to an orchestra playing a ‘silent song,’ adding: ‘I prefer heavy metal.’ It came at a time when Wenger was under pressure, an older man who seemed to be struggling to keep up with the new wave; Klopp knew how to make the point.
In many ways he does seem made for the Premier League. His capacity to embrace a club emotionally makes him the thinking man’s Ian Holloway. The sheer relentlessness of his teams and their work-rate means he would have no problem passing the Premier League’s ‘foreigner test’ otherwise known as wet, windy night at Stoke.
‘What I love is fighting football,’ Klopp once said, explaining that in Germany they even call this ‘English’ football. ‘Rainy day, heavy pitch, everybody is dirty in the face. This is Borussia.’ It is Klopp’s mantra too. He clearly won’t lack for offers. And wherever he goes, you can expect Klopp to be the centre of attention, according to daily mail.