Tributes pour in for Cruyff

Johan Cruyff (
Johan Cruyff (

Barcelona - Tributes have poured in from the football world after the death of Dutch soccer legend, Johan Cruyff, who died Thursday at the age of 68 as a result of lung cancer.

He was a genius and now we are missing this genius" — former FIFA president Sepp Blatter to The Associated Press.

"He refused to play in three stripes so on his shirt he had only two. He was an exceptional personality," Blatter said, recalling the special Adidas Netherlands jersey created for Cruyff, who wore Puma football boots.

"With his intelligent play, superb technique and leadership, he quickly became an icon for Barca" — Barcelona website tribute to its former player and manager.

"Today football has lost one of its best ever players and ambassadors. I am very sad because Johan was my childhood hero, my idol and my friend. I will miss him dearly. My thoughts are with his family, and I send them my love" — former France and Juventus midfielder Michel Platini.

"Another legend has left us today" — Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi .

"He was not only a very good friend; he was like a brother to me" — former West Germany and Bayern Munich player Franz Beckenbauer.

"Football has lost a man who did more to make the beautiful game beautiful than anyone in history" — former England striker Gary Lineker , who played under Cruyff at Barcelona.

"I'm very sad, hurt, crying. He was my idol when I was young and then I had the good fortune to later play for him, so today is a difficult day. It brings back so many memories. He made us, as players, and the club, so happy. This is a huge loss" — former Spain defender Ricardo Serna, who played under Cruyff at Barcelona.

"It's a very sad day for everyone, not just for the Barca family, but for all of world football" — current Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta.

"True football royalty. I don't think anyone has ever influenced the game as much as he has done. We have all been touched and inspired by his vision and his beliefs. Football will miss him but we will never forget" — Belgium and Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.

"You were too great to ever be forgotten" — former Netherlands and Barcelona striker Patrick Kluivert.

"We lost one of the best ever in world football. Johan Cruyff was simply an amazing player, coach, teacher and human" — former Bayern Munich and Germany player/manager Jurgen Klinsmann.

"He was one of those great, great footballers that made you excited whenever he got the ball and began to play. There was always expectation in the crowd when Johan was on the pitch. There wasn't a negative thought in his head" — former Manchester United and England midfielder Bobby Charlton.

"One of the greatest players the world has ever known. A symbol of elegant play. An inspiration. A source of admiration for fans. He has marked football history forever" — FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

"I feel honoured to have met you" — Dutch Formula One driver Max Verstappen, who met Cruyff at pre-season testing recently.

"May the world spend the day watching your highlights on YouTube" — American comedian and talk show host Seth Myers .

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