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Johan Cruyff Luis Enrique hails late legend's legacy at memorial

The club also announced that players and supporters will honour Cruyff by unveiling the message "Thanks Johan" during Saturday's La Liga clasico against Real Madrid.

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General view as a minutes applause is held in the 14th minute of the match and a tribute is displayed on the big screen in honour of Johan Cruyff Reuters / Stefan Wermuth Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. play General view as a minutes applause is held in the 14th minute of the match and a tribute is displayed on the big screen in honour of Johan Cruyff Reuters / Stefan Wermuth Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. (Reuters)
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Barcelona coach Luis Enrique led tributes to the late Johan Cruyff in a memorial organised by the club on Tuesday and vowed to "continue copying and improving his style of attacking football".

Former Barcelona player and coach Cruyff passed away in the city last week aged 68, five months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The club also announced that players and supporters will honour Cruyff by unveiling the message "Thanks Johan" during Saturday's La Liga clasico against Real Madrid.

A statement said: "Supporters will hold up a mosaic comprised of 90,000 paper cards occupying the entire stadium with the message 'GrĂ cies Johan', and the same message will be displayed on the shirt of the Barcelona players, as a one-off, in place of the world champions badge (for winning the 2015 Club World Cup)."

Dutchman Cruyff joined Barcelona from Ajax in 1973 and inspired the Catalan club to their first La Liga title in 14 years in his first season.

He had an even bigger impact on Barcelona after becoming coach in 1988, leading them to four consecutive league titles and engineering their first European Cup triumph in 1992.

Surrounded by members of the current Barcelona side in the presidential box at the Nou Camp, and addressing the memorial in front of a portrait of Cruyff, Luis Enrique said: "To speak of Cruyff is to speak of football in its purest expression.

"He was someone who commanded respect. He became one of the best footballers of all time and as a coach he saw football in a different way, related it to a spectacle, and also won titles. It is a huge loss for the football world.

"He leaves a huge and important legacy and Barca will continue with his philosophy and try to continue copying and improving his style of attacking football. Now we have to support his family. We will always remember him."

In addition to the honours he amassed as a player and coach, Cruyff is remembered for imprinting a certain style of football on Barcelona and for the development of their La Masia academy, which has produced current players Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

Barcelona's squad held a minute's silence before their first training session since the international break in memory of Cruyff, and then accompanied their coach to the Nou Camp for the final day of the memorial, which began on Saturday.

According to Barcelona's official Twitter feed, more than 50,000 people have visited the memorial.

Cruyff's son, Jordi, a former Barcelona midfielder, said: "It's incredible to see that he was such an inspiration for so many people. Not just for what he did in football but for who he was, with his special aura, his closeness, his warmth."

The seven surviving club presidents will attend Barcelona's game against Real at the Nou Camp on Saturday.

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