Marco van Basten has labelled the late Johan Cruyff his “idol”.
Cruyff lost his battle against lung cancer at the age of 68 on Thursday, and Van Basten – who both played alongside and for Cruyff at Ajax – has paid tribute to his fellow Dutchman.
“Johan has always been an idol of me,” Van Basten told Voetbal International.
“I was always watching that great Ajax team’s European games in the 1970s with players like Ruud Krol, Johan Neeskens, Sjaak Swart and of course Cruyff when I was young. They won three European Cups in a row, they were great to watch.
“Cruyff always drew my attention. That team was obviously very good, but Johan was a beatifully elegant player.
“I still remember meeting him for the first time. I must have been 15 or so. He was coming down the stairs and I was going up. I really felt an urge to shake his hand and to tell him to remember my name. But I never did. I think I had too much respect for him.
“Now that he’s passed away, I realise how much he has done for football in general and also for Netherlands.”
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