Former Wales manager John Toshack has paid tribute to Netherlands footballing great Johan Cruyff who has died of cancer aged 68.
The pair were rival coaches in Spain in 1989-90 when Toshack was at Real Madrid and Cruyff at Barcelona.
Cruyff was one of the “all-time greats” and architect of Barcelona’s success.
“He orchestrated a style of play that’s seen Barcelona through the years and Luis Enrique is still following today,” said Toshack.
“He cultivated a style of play there which 20-25 years later they’ve carried on.
“As a player he ranks up there with one of the all-time greats – with Beckenbauer, Maradona and George Best.
“These days you’ve got the Ronaldos and the Messis – the modern day greats.
“But Johan was not only a great player, but an inspirational coach and manager who really sowed the seeds of the success at Barcelona.”
“It’s a terrible loss to the game and to Dutch football.”
Toshack also managed Real Sociedad and Deportivo in Spain while Cruyff was at Barca.
He talked fondly of his relationship away from the game with the Dutchman, when the pair both had apartments in the same complex in Majorca.
“The memories I have of him are on the golf course, when we could forget about the football and enjoy the sunshine,” added Toshack.
The former Liverpool striker played against Cruyff during the 1970s and said the Netherlands team of that era – inspired by Cruyff – was among the very best although finishing runners-up in two World Cups.
“During the World Cups in ’74 and ’78 their brand of football was regarded as the best in Europe and possibly the best in the world,” he said.
“But very often the best don’t come away with the trophy.”