Barça president Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf on occasion of the Champions League game with Ajax on Wednesday in the Amsterdam Arena. He had a lot to say about the many links between the Dutch club and FC Barcelona, and particularly the shared legacy of Johan Cruyff.
Cruyff “was even more important for Barça as a manager than he was as a player” he commented. “He changed everything about the professional environment here. He changed our way of thinking through his ideas about football, how he interpreted games, and how the club as a whole was run … He saw how much talent there was in the Masia, and gave all that talent a chance to play in the first team.”
Cruyff was even more important for Barça as a manager than he was as a playerThe president is convinced that Barça’s style of play owes a lot to Ajax. “Johan believed in that” he says. “I think it was wonderful. Others wouldn’t have taken the risk. He did! His philosophy became characteristic of how Barça play. If you ask anyone around the world which two clubs have the best academies, they’ll surely say Ajax and FC Barcelona".
Josep Maria Bartomeu also spoke about Cruyff’s influence on Pep Guardiola. “He was Pep’s inspiration” he said. “As a player and as a manager he owes a lot to Johan. Pep had many different managers during his playing career, but it was from Johan that he learned the most”.
We’re lucky to have more financial resources than AjaxHe describes Barça as the ‘sons of Ajax’, which he explained by saying that “for years we have been observing what young clubs like Ajax do, how they train and how they are organised. We learned a lot from Ajax. That’s especially thanks to Johan. But as in life, the son sometimes outdoes the father. We’re lucky to have more financial resources than Ajax … Ajax can feel proud of what we’ve achieved at Barcelona. And Johan can feel proud of what Pep Guardiola achieved. Here again, the son was even more successful than the father. But for us, Pep is Johan’s footballing son. But it’s not about envy, it’s all about pure pride”.