Former Barcelona and Brazil striker Romario has hailed Johan Cruyff as the best coach he played under.
Footballing icon Cruyff died on Thursday in Barcelona following a battle with lung cancer, aged 68.
As a player, Cruyff led Ajax to three consecutive European Cups from 1971 and starred as the Netherlands reached the 1974 World Cup final, establishing himself as the defining superstar of the “total football” style.
Having spent five years at Barcelona as a player from 1973, Cruyff refined this blueprint as coach of the Catalan giants between 1988 and 1996.
He steered the club to their first European Cup in 1992 and won four consecutive La Liga crowns between 1990-91 and 1993-94, with Romario joining the feted “Dream Team” for the latter season and forming a sensational strike partnership with Bulgaria international Hristo Stoichkov.
Posting on his Facebook page Romario said: “We woke up with the sad news of the death of my friend Johan Cruyff. I had the privilege to have you as a coach when I played at Barcelona.
“He was, without doubt, the best trainer that I had, your teachings will live on forever in my life.
“I often say that he challenged me so much as a player and I was always looking for the win.
“He knew how to value and explore what each member of his team had and he knew my skill was getting goals.
“He was also a fair person. I remember that I was suffering a bit by the distance from home. At that time, I was the only player of Barcelona from outside Europe. He then gave me a few more days off so I could rest at home.
“Today football loses one of its greatest icons and I lose a friend. Rest in peace, Master Cruyff.”