Johan Cruyff was “a step ahead of everyone”, according to former Netherlands international Ronald de Boer.
Cruyff died of cancer on Thursday at the age of 68 after a glittering career as a player and coach, primarily for Barcelona and Ajax.
Fellow Dutchman De Boer told Sky Sports News: “I’ve only great memories of him.
“You can’t comprehend that he’s not with us anymore. Sixty-eight is so young.”
De Boer added: “In footballing terms he put not only Dutch football but ‘Total Football’ on the map. He made football look so easy.
“His way of thinking, what he said… he made people laugh and gave us so much respect all over the world. We are going to miss this man.”
De Boer was in the Ajax academy when Cruyff was a veteran player at the club.
“His style of play, I saw most of it when he was 34. He scored in his first game with an unbelievable chip over the goalkeeper,” he said.
“The way he played was so gracious but also with an identification. He possessed speed, although he was always thinking, he was a step ahead of everyone. That made him so special.
“He had so much control over the ball, left or right foot didn’t matter. You don’t see many players nowadays with that quality.”