Lionel Messi has paid tribute to “legend” Johan Cruyff after the former Barcelona coach died at the age of 68.
Messages of condolence have poured in from across the footballing world after the former Ajax and Netherlands star lost his battle with lung cancer on Thursday.
Barca club captain Andres Iniesta described Cruyff as a key figure in the club’s modern success after his impact upon the youth system and playing culture at Camp Nou during his time as head coach of the ‘Dream Team’ of the early 1990s.
And five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi is the latest to pay his respects to Cruyff, posting simply on his official Facebook page: “Another legend has left us today.”
Messi’s club-mate Gerard Pique underlined the importance of Cruyff in encouraging La Masia to cultivate footballing talent in his championed ‘total football’ style.
“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,” the defender said, speaking to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) while on international duty.
“The fact that we’re here is thanks largely to Johan Cruyff.”
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