The deep-lying playmaker didn’t hesitate to give the Dutch master—who passed away from cancer at the age of 68 in March—immense credit for the construction of the modern Barcelona.
“Cruyff is the father of everything,” Xavi began, “the patriarch of this philosophy, the DNA of Barca.”
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The iconic forward reached the final of the 1974 World Cup with the Netherlands as they were defeated by West Gemany.
Cruyff also played a key role in the building of the modern Ajax and Barcelona—a fact attested to by Xavi.
He won a trio of European Cups with Ajax in the 1970s, and served Barca with distinction as both a player and a coach.
The eight-time Eredivisie winner won the Spanish title with Barca in 1974, and as a coach, cultivated one of the best sides ever seen in Catalonia.
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Cruyff’s dream team won four consecutive Spanish titles in the early 1990s as well as the European Cup in 1992.
He left the club in 1996, while Xavi was still in the club’s youth ranks.