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CRUYFF (1947-2016)

Luis Enrique hails Cruyff legacy at Barcelona memorial

Luis Enrique led tributes to the late Johan Cruyff in a memorial organised by the club on Tuesday and vowed to 'continue copying and improving his style of attacking football'.

Update:
Barcelona's coach Luis Enrique speaks after paying tribute to late Dutch football star Johan Cruyff in a special condolence area set up at Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona on March 29, 2016.
LLUIS GENEAFP

Former Barcelona player and coach Cruyff passed away in the city last week aged 68, five months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Surrounded by current Barcelona players in the presidential box at the Nou Camp, and addressing the memorial in front of a portrait of Cruyff, Luis Enrique said: "To speak of Cruyff is to speak of football in its purest expression. "He was someone who commanded respect. He becam e one of the best footballers of all time and as a coach he saw football in a different way, related it to a spectacle, and also won titles.

It is a huge loss for the football world. "He leaves a huge and important legacy and Barca will continue with his philosophy and try to continue copying and  improving his style of attacking football. Now we have to support his family. We will always remember him."

Dutchman Cruyff joined Barcelona from Ajax in 1973 and inspired the Catalan club to their first La Liga title in 14 years in his first season.

He had an even bigger impact on Barcelona after becoming coach in 1988, leading them to four consecutive league titles and engineering their first European Cup triumph in 1992.

In addition to the honours he amassed as a player and coach, Cruyff is remembered for imprinting a certain style of football on Barcelona and for the development of their La Masia academy, which has produced current players Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

Barcelona's squad held a minute's silence before their first training session since the international break in memory of Cruyff, and then accompanied Luis Enrique to the Nou Camp for the final day of the memorial, which began on Saturday.

According to Barcelona's official Twitter feed, more than 50,000 people have visited the memorial.

Cruyff's son, Jordi, a former Barcelona midfielder, said: "It's incredible to see that he was such an inspiration for so many people. Not just for what he did in football but for who he was, with his special aura, his closeness, his warmth."

The seven surviving club presidents will attend Barcelona's La Liga match with arch rivals Real Madrid at the Nou Camp on Saturday.

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