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2016 was a year that will be remembered for the losses of two of the most highly esteemed gentlemen in the history of FC Barcelona. Former player and manager Johan Cruyff (1947-2016) passed away this year, as did the legendary stadium announcer Manel Vich (1938-2016), whose voice had become synonymous with the experience of watching the team play at the Camp Nou.

24/03/16: Forever in our memories, Johan

Johan Cruyff departed this world on 24 March 2016, and it was a death that hurt the whole Barça family, both young and old. Cruyff was a man who changed the whole way of understanding football and had a profound impact on making the modern day Barça that we all know and love.

In the seventies, he was one of the greatest players ever to don the famous shirt, and in the nineties he was the manager of the Dream Team that played a totally new breed of football and took the team to unprecedented heights. That success is still continuing today, and so is the inimitable style that he created.

A Johan Cruyff Memorial was created on the stadium grounds, and over four days, no fewer than 60,525 people came to pay their last respects to the Flying Dutchman. These were not just Barça fans and members, but also those of other clubs, as well as senior figures from the worlds of entertainment, politics and other public spheres.

The Camp Nou also honoured his memory in the build-up to the Clásico on April 2, where a spectacular mosaic spelt out the message Gràcies Johan and video featuring members of the Dream Team was played on the video scoreboard. And the moment that scoreboard marked the 14th minute of the game, Cruyff’s famous number, the crowd burst into a spontaneous round of applause in a touching tribute to a man that did so much for this wonderful club.

29/04/2016: The voice of the Camp Nou

One month after the death of Johan Cruyff, the club was in mourning once again, this time for Manel Vich, who had been the stadium announcer for almost sixty years, dating all the way back to the days when the team played at its former Les Corts ground. In that time, he had only been absent for four matches.

Vich’s voice welcoming the fans to the stadium was synonymous with the experience of watching home games, as was his respectfully polite manner as he read out the line-ups, announced substitutions or called for a minute’s silence in memory of departed friends.

In the first home fixture after his death, a derby against Espanyol, a recording of his voice saying his iconic welcome message of Bona tarda a tothom i benvinguts a l’Estadi was played, and the crowd burst into applause throughout the minute’s silence in his memory.

Other Barça losses in 2016

- Quique Martín (former footballer)
- Josep Duró (former footballer)
- Francisco Cánovas (former footballer)
- Miguel Ángel Bustillo (former footballer)
Joaquim Tejedor (former footballer)
- Jaume Peiró (former footballer)
- Alfredo Pérez (Barça B materials manager)
- Luis del Val (former Barça director)
- Shegun Azpiazu (former basketball player)

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