Messi has praised Cruyff.

Lionel Messi praises Johan Cruyff's influence over Barcelona

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Lionel Messi has paid tribute to Johan Cruyff, crediting him for laying the foundations at Barcelona for their recent success.

Cryuff passed away yesterday aged 68 after a battle with cancer, and his death prompted an outpouring of emotion from the world of football - so much so that his son, Jordi, issued a statement of thanks following the tributes.

"It has touched us deeply that Johan was such an inspiration to many of you," said ex-Manchester United midfielder said.

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"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."

Cruyff's legacy, both as a player and a manager, lives on despite his passing; it was his playing philosophy that inspired former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola to lead the Catalan club into an unprecedented era of success having played under the Dutchman in the early 90's.

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During the current Bayern Munich manager's reign at the Nou Camp, the club won 14 out of 19 competitions and are widely considered to be one of the best club sides of all time.

"Cruyff helped me a lot, like a father would do," Guardiola said. "Professionally, I owe him everything, as player and as coach."


Now Messi has moved to pay tribute to the Dutch master after his passing, praising him for helping Barcelona become the club it is today.

Speaking after Argentina'a 2-1 World Cup qualifier win against Chile, he said: "He [Cruyff] was a very influential person in the football world and above all in Barcelona. Mostly all that Barcelona has been living in the last few years is because of him. He's a person who changed the way of thinking in Barcelona's football, and a person very much loved by everybody in the football world.

Although Barcelona's style has changed under current boss Luis Enrique, the presence of Messi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets ensures Cruyff's influence is still felt to this day.

Do you think Enrique's Barcelona are better than Guardiola's side?

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