UEFA president Michel Platini hailed Johan Cruyff as the “best player of all time” after the Dutch legend’s death on Thursday.
“Cruyff, he was the best player of all time,” former France great Platini told AFP.
“I’ve lost a friend, the world has lost a great man. I admired him, he was the best player of all time,” said Platini, who like Cruyff was a three-time winner of the European player of the year award.
“In the 1970s, I was around 15 years old and I followed Ajax matches on the television. My first memory was of Ajax’s 3-0 tie-break win over Benfica in the (1969 European Cup) quarter-final after each team had won 3-1 in their previous games. Then I remember Ajax lost 4-1 in the final against AC Milan.”
Platini added: “I played with him in his testimonial at the end of his Barcelona career. I told him how happy I was to meet him, but he didn’t even look at me!
“Later on, I gave him a prize in my role as UEFA president and we became friends,” the former France captain said.
“Between two drags on his cigarettes, he always spoke of the young, coaching, and education through football.
“And you mustn’t forget that it was he who gave his philosophy and style to Barcelona when he coached the club.
“Today is a sad day for football.”