Lionel Messi: Johan Cruyff’s 2008 prediction about Barcelona legend emerges

  • Rob Swan
Commentator described Johan Cruyff’s prediction about Lionel Messi in 2008 - he saw the future

Johan Cruyff’s 2008 prediction about Lionel Messi has emerged – and the late, great legendary footballer saw the future.

Cruyff, who sadly passed away in 2016 at the age of 68, is not only one of the most talented players we’ve ever seen… he also possessed a footballing brain unrivalled by perhaps any other individual throughout history.

One of football’s most influential figures, Cruyff helped to popularise the philosophy of ’Total Football’.

He inspired some of modern football’s greatest coaches, including Pep Guardiola, and is more than partly responsible for the extraordinary success that Barcelona have enjoyed over the past few decades.

Cruyff, a three-time Ballon d’Or winner, played and managed Barça during his remarkable life.

Johan Cruyff during his Barcelona career
18 Mar 1996: Portrait of Barcelona Coach Johan Cruyff before the UEFA Cup match against PSV Eindhoven at the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven, Holland. \ Mandatory Credit: Gary M Prior/Allsport

And even after his spell as the club’s head coach ended in 1996, Cruyff was still a regular visitor at Camp Nou.

He had the privilege of witnessing the rise of Messi, the player considered by many as the greatest footballer in history.

Messi at Barcelona in 2005
BARCELONA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 9: Leo Messi of Barcelona in action during the match between FC Barcelona and Osasuna, of La Liga, on September 2006, played at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Luis Bagu/Getty Images).

And it didn’t take long for Cruyff to realise that the Argentine forward was a once-in-a-lifetime footballer.

What was Johan Cruyff’s prediction about Lionel Messi?

During a La Liga clash between Barcelona and Villarreal in 2008, the Sky Sports commentator said: “There was a very interesting comment by Johan Cruyff, who still lives around these parts and is still a regular here at the Camp Nou, he was talking about Lionel Messi.

“He says: ‘Still, only 20, he has a little bit to learn about the game: when to provide the right pass and when to dribble. When he fully understands that, he won’t just get one Golden Ball (Ballon d’Or), he’ll have an entire collection by the time his career ends’.

“When you’ve got a player of Cruyff’s stature saying that, you know you’ve arrived.”

The co-commentator added: “Without a doubt. You get accolades like that from one of the all-time greats, you know you’re hopefully going to play a big part in world football in years to come.”

Watch the clip here:

Messi had just made this sensational run, hence why the commentators spoke about Cruyff’s prediction.

How many Ballon d’Or awards has Lionel Messi won?

The South American missed out on 2008’s Ballon d’Or award, finishing second to Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

But he went on to win the next four and has since added three more to his collection since 2012.

Messi won his seventh and most-recent Ballon d’Or last November and it’s hard to see any player equalling his incredible record in either the short or long-term future.

Lionel Messi with the Ballon d'Or
PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 29: (EDITOR’S NOTE: This image was converted to black and white) Lionel Messi (ARG / PSG) is awarded with his seventh Ballon D’Or award attends the Ballon D’Or ceremony at Theatre du Chatelet on November 29, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

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