Celtic hero Stiliyan Petrov has hailed former friend and rival Fernando Ricksen as a "true fighter on and off the pitch" after the Dutchman passed away this morning.

Ricksen, 43, tragically lost his battle motor neurone disease.

The football world came together to pay their respects with messages of love and condolence.

And Petrov - who himself has come through a fight with leukaemia in recent years - remembered his pal in a poignant social media post.

Posting a picture of the pair scrapping for the ball in a derby of yesteryear, Petrov said: "Rest in Peace my friend - true fighter on and off the pitch. 

"My thoughts are with your family & friends #MND".

Tributes pour in for ex-Rangers star Ricksen after he loses battle with motor neurone disease

Ricksen had spent his final months in an Airdrie hospice and fought until the end.

Rangers announced the sad news this morning via social media.

And floods of messages poured in as the world remembered the fighting Dutchman.