Marco van Basten has paid tribute to his idol Johan Cruyff, who lost his battle with Cancer on Thursday.

  • By Michael Bell
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van basten cruyffVan Basten played with, against, and under Cruyff when the striker represented Ajax between 1981 and 87.

Speaking to Voetbal International, Van Basten paid tribute to the Netherlands legend, who sadly passed away from lung Cancer on Thursday.

He said, “Johan has always been an idol of me. I was always watching that great Ajax team’s European games in the 1970s with players like Ruud Krol, Johan Neeskens, Sjaak Swart and of course Cruyff when I was young.

“They won three European Cups in a row, they were great to watch. Cruyff always drew my attention. That team was obviously very good but Johan was a beautifully elegant player.”

Van Basten also remembered the first time he met Cruyff, “I still remember meeting him for the first time. I must have been 15 or so. He was coming down the stairs and I was going up. I really felt an urge to shake his hand and to tell him to remember my name. But I never did. I had too much respect for him. Now that he’s passed away, I realise how much he has done for football in general and also for Netherlands,”

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