Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff have both gone down as Barcelona legends for what they accomplished at the club as players and managers.
Both achieved incredible success at the Camp Nou, Guardiola winning six La Liga titles during his playing days and adding another three as a manager. Cruyff, meanwhile, won four straight titles as Barcelona boss in the 1990’s and won the European Cup in 1992.
Two winners and, as Xavi Hernandez has pointed out, two similar styles.
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Xavi, who won the Spanish title and Champions League under Guardiola, reckons the Catalan continued the philosophy Cruyff brought to Barcelona.
The Dutchman sadly passed away in March but is responsible for influencing several great players and managers, including Guardiola, Frank Rijkaard, Arsene Wenger, Eric Cantona and Michael Laudrup.
And Xavi compared the two in an interview with beIN Sports.
“Guardiola was a master as far as I was concerned,” he said, per AS. “Cruyff established a very clear philosophy at Barcelona, he gave birth to that philosophy, he created Barça’s DNA.”
Guardiola brought an unparalleled period of dominance to Barcelona between 2009 and 2012, winning three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues in that time.
Guardiola remembers Cruyff
Tributes poured in for Cruyff upon the Dutch master’s passing on March 24 after a long battle with cancer.
Guardiola was fortunate enough to play under the Ajax legend and revealed just how much he learned.
“It's a great loss. We will not be able to see him when we would like to, but his legacy remains,” Guardiola was quoted by ESPN FC as telling Catalan radio station RAC1.
“Those that experienced it were fortunate to be able to enjoy him directly and personally and he has left many things.
“We [former players] have all followed him in one way or another; some coaching, others being technical secretaries, other commentating... and that is only possible if someone gives you something.
“He made us understand football. His advice was very important. He advised you to use your instincts, to take decisions. He opened your eyes.
“He always said that if you follow your instincts you can never go wrong. Football is such a complicated game that you become a coach because you want to control it.
“You think you will dominate it with what you do or what you say but it's impossible to dominate it unless you are [Lionel] Messi. And Johan helped us to do so."
Cruyff has passed but his influence can be seen in the playing styles of several of Europe's best teams.