I can barely recall the first years of Johan Cruyff as the coach of Barça; for the ones we were born on the late 80s we were too young by the time Barça won his first Champions League. However, it is easier for us to remember the day Barça was defeated by Milan 4-0 in in the Final of Champions League in 1994, so-called the End of the Era of The Dream Team.
Since Johan Cruyff left Barça it took almost ten years for Barça to rule Europe again, and it happened when Frank Rijkaard landed in Barcelona. He was also Dutch but younger than Johan. Both of them had a very important role in the early 90s, Johan as the coach of the Dream Team and Frank as one of the key players of Milan of Sacchi together with Gullit, Van Basten and Marco Baresi.
Hence, Frank Rijkaard took Barça from the ashes being capable of turning that team to champion again; never mind they did not play exactly the same way Dream Team used to do but with Puyol, Xavi, Deco, Ronaldinho and a young Iniesta and Messi on the pitch we could see a lot of similarities between the two teams. Actually, it was just the beginning of a new Era, the basis of a new Dream Team; not only the one of Cruyff but also the Barça of Rijkaard, Luis Enrique and especially Guardiola’s, all of them were well known because they kept the ball and approached the goal of the rival while they created spaces moving the ball around the pitch. All of these teams share the quote Cruyff used to mentioned; “whilst you have got the ball, it is difficult for the other team to score”.
I do not pretend to point which of those managers has succeeded more in Barça, basically because I am not sure whether it is so simple to say as it looks, however I can say with confidence Johan Cruyff established a new idea of how to play football in Europe and in Barcelona; may you not always win, but you will always be proud, have fun and play nice football.
Perhaps we will never find the suitable words to say goodbye to Johan, nevertheless his legacy will remain in Barça so we do not have to. I can only say thanks and wonder whether there is or there is not enough place in Heaven for myths like him.