Reactions from around the world to the death of Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff.
“We will never forget you, skinny.”
Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.
“Another legend has left us.”
Argentina and Barcelona star, Lionel Messi, on Facebook.
“We will always love you, Johan. Rest in peace.”
FC Barcelona, via Twitter.
“I’ve lost a friend, the world has lost a great man. I admired him, he was the best player of all time.”
Former French great Michel Platini led the tributes to Cruyff, who like himself was a three-time winner of the Ballon d’Or award.
“He was one of the greatest footballers I have ever seen, you would put him in the same class as Pele, (Alfredo) di Stefano and (Diego) Maradona. The kind of football he played changed the game and still has an impact today.”
England hero Bobby Charlton remembered Cruyff as one of the finest players to grace the pitch.
“I am shocked. Johan Cruyff is dead. He was not only a very good friend, but also a brother to me.”
Franz Beckenbauer, who captained Germany to a 2-1 victory over Cruyff and Netherlands in the 1974 WC final, on Twitter.
“A sad day. A legend and key person for Barca and football departs. My deepest condolences to the family.”
Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta, a product of the world renowned La Masia academy that was the brainchild of Cruyff.
“Johan Cruyff gave football a unique touch that some try to copy. I’m very moved. He was an extraordinary personality who, along with Rinus Michels, kicked off total football.”
Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
“Deeply saddened at the death of my best coach and good friend. Thanks for everything. Forever in our heart.”
Ex-Dutch international Ronald Koeman, who scored Barcelona’s winning goal in the 1992 European Cup final.
“Goodbye to one of the legends of the history of football.”
Real Madrid and Spain defender Sergio Ramos.
“My first coach overseas, one of the best coaches I ever had. A very important man in my career. We had a great loss”
Former Barcelona and Portugal star Luis Figo.
“As a player, as a coach, you changed the history of our club. Thank you, Johan.”
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
“He enriched football and gave it a new face. He was a Dutch icon. Johan Cruyff belonged to all of us.”
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
“Very very saddened by the demise of @JohanCruyff RIP Sir. Football has truly lost a jewel. My thoughts and prayers with his family.”
India cricket star Virat Kohli on Twitter.
“I don’t have the words to describe the pain I am feeling. MY COACH, my friend. Rest in peace, my friend. Thanks for everything. You will always by at my side.”
Former Bulgarian and Barcelona star Hristo Stoitchkov on Instagram
“Thank you for all you gave to football, to Ajax and to Barca.”
Current Barcelona and former Ajax striker Luis Suarez on Twitter from Brazil where he was preparing for his international return Friday for Uruguay.
“We’ve lost our best-ever footballer, our Number 14, our greatest football friend.”
Royal Dutch Football Federation chairman Michael van Praag.
‘You play football with your head, and your legs are there to help you’: Johan Cruyff in quotes
Here’s what the legend had said on his favourite game over the years.
Cruyff on football
“You play football with your head, and your legs are there to help you.”
“If I wanted you to understand it, I would have explained it better.”
“Jack [Charlton] makes out he is not really interested in football, and tells the world he’s going fishing. But we know what he’s thinking about when he’s fishing. Football.”
“Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.”
“I only decided to become a manager when I was told I couldn’t.”
“I find it terrible when talents are rejected based on computer stats. Based on the criteria at Ajax now I would have been rejected. When I was 15, I couldn’t kick a ball 15 meters with my left and maybe 20 with my right. My qualities technique and vision, are not detectable by a computer.”
“Why couldn’t you beat a richer club? I’ve never seen a bag of money score a goal.”
“Sadly they played very dirty. This ugly, vulgar, hard, hermetic, hardly eye-catching, hardly football style... If with this they got satisfaction, fine, but they lost” – on the Netherlands’ 2010 World Cup finalists.
“Italians can’t win the game against you, but you can lose the game against the Italians.”
Football on Cruyff
“Johan Cruyff painted the chapel, and Barcelona coaches since merely restore or improve it” – Pep Guardiola on Cruyff’s work at the Nou Camp.
“Pythagoras in boots. Few have been able to exert, both physically and mentally, such mesmeric control on a match from one penalty area to another” – David Winner, author of Brilliant Orange.
“The proudest moment of my career. I thought I’d win the ball for sure, but he tricked me. I was not humiliated. I had no chance. Cruyff was a genius” – Jan Olsson, the
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