Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique have paid tribute to “legend” Johan Cruyff after the former Barcelona player and coach died aged 68.
Messages of condolence come from all across the world after Cruyff lost his battle with lung cancer on Thursday.
The Dutchman had a profound effect on Barcelona, first as a player and then in a pioneering eight-year stint as coach and the current generation of Barca stars gave their thoughts on the great man.
“Another legend has left us today,” Messi wrote on his Facebook page.
Club captain Andres Iniesta described Cruyff as a key figure in the club’s success, crediting his impact on the youth system and playing culture.
Cruyff was instrumental in developing the playing style the club are known for, with his time as head coach of the ‘Dream Team’ of the early 1990s – a golden era for Barca.
“It’s very sad news. I put him as one of the best players in history, and as a coach he changed the history of our club,” Pique said to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
Cruyff was voted the world player of the year three times and also helped guide Holland to the World Cup final in 1974.
As a player Cruyff scored 392 times in 520 games over a 19-year career and, as a coach, he recorded 242 wins in 387 matches.
A statement from from the club read: “FC Barcelona wishes to send its most heartfelt sympathy to Johan Cruyff’s family at such a painful moment, a sentiment which the Club members, fans and the whole world of football and sport will share. Rest in peace. Thank you Johan.”
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