Netherlands pay tribute to Cruyff during France game

Netherlands' game against France at the Amsterdam ArenA was temporarily stopped in the 14th minute as a mark of respect for Johan Cruyff.

Netherlands France Amsterdam ArenA Johan Cruyff

Johan Cruyff was remembered at the Amsterdam ArenA Source: AAP



With the action halted by the referee as planned, players from both sides, all wearing black armbands, took part in a minute's applause that rang around the stadium in tribute to the Netherlands great widely regarded as one of the best footballers in history.

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Cruyff's image appeared on the stadium's big screen during the applause, while a large banner displayed in one of the stands simply read 'Johan Thanks'.

Dutch federation (KNVB) president Michael van Praag had earlier said: ''I can't wait for the moment when we rename our stadium the Johan Cruyff Arena. It's the best tribute we can pay him.''

Cruyff, who wore the number 14 shirt for his country and led them as captain to the 1974 FIFA World Cup final, died on Thursday at the age of 68 after losing his battle with lung cancer.

A charity match between Feyenoord, the final club he played for, and Sparta Rotterdam was also paused in the 14th minute in his honour.



Cruyff's son Jordi on Friday said he was 'touched' by the messages of support and tributes to his father.

In a message posted on his father's official website, worldofjohancruyff.com, Jordi wrote: ''On behalf of my mother, sisters and the rest of the family I would like to say thank you for all the love, kind words and memories that have been shared with us, since yesterday but also over the past months.

''It has touched us deeply that Johan was such an inspiration to many of you. We would like to express our special thanks to all the doctors and medical staff who have supported us until the end.''

The family's management confirmed they were making arrangements for a final farewell to Cruyff, as well as preparing details for an official memorial.

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola, who will take over Manchester City next season, began his playing career at Barcelona under Cruyff's and paid tribute to a coaching wizard.

Guardiola told Catalan radio station RAC 1: "It's a great loss. We will not be able to see him when we would like to, but his legacy remains.

"Those that experienced it were fortunate and he has left many things. He made us understand football, he opened your eyes.

"One day I went for dinner with my wife and my children and and we were talking about Johan. One of my children, who had never met Johan, asked me who he was.

"I explained to him that it's as though you were going to a history lesson, or science or math, and you can't wait for that lesson with that teacher to start because he helps you love the class. My son said 'like Merlin?'

"We had Merlin, a person that helped us and was special."

England boss Roy Hodgson on Friday confirmed both his team and Germany will wear black armbands in their game in Berlin.

And Hodgson said of Cruyff: ''Whenever a legend passes away it's a sad day for football.

''The word 'legend' is used far too flippantly, too glibly, these days but Johan was one. He was a great coach too. I found him a fascinating man to listen to.''

A three-time European Footballer of the Year award winner, Cruyff helped Ajax to a total of eight Dutch titles as a player and three European Cups.

In 1973 he reunited with his old Ajax coach Rinus Michels by following him to Barca, and won the Primera Division title in his first season.

Cruyff, who became synonymous with 'Total Football', moved on to the Los Angeles Aztecs, Levante, back to Ajax and then Feyenoord before finishing his playing days.

The 'Cruyff Turn', the forward's exquisite swerve past bamboozled Sweden defender Jan Olsson at the 1974 FIFA World Cup, remains one of football's most endearing images.

After retirement he took over as boss at Ajax, before once again swapping Amsterdam for Catalonia.

He led Barca to four league titles and their first European Cup in 1992 - a period in which he underwent major heart surgery, which prompted him to stop smoking.

Cruyff was sacked in 1996 but remained influential at the Nou Camp for the rest of his life, with Jordi playing at the club for a time.

Barcelona posted on Instagram: ''We'll always love you, Johan. Rest in peace'', with a fuller statement paying tribute to a 'player and a coach who will forever be a legend at the club'.


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5 min read
Published 26 March 2016 at 7:50am
Source: PA Sport