Three-time World Cup winner Pele has paid an emotional tribute to the late Johan Cruyff, describing the Dutch legend as a man who ‘changed football’. Cruyff died on March 24 this year after a short illness and leaves behind a rich legacy both on the playing field and in the dugout.
He led Ajax to three European Cups as a player and coached Barcelona’s famous ‘Dream Team’ to another one in 1992.
Cruyff was the best player in the 1974 World Cup when the Dutch exponents of Total Football lost to West Germany in the final.
“There is no doubt to me that he was one of the players who changed the way to play football in Europe,” Pele said.
“As a player he made spectacular changes in Holland. In thenational team he was fantastic. “And then as a coach it was the same. He changed the way football was played in Spain and Barcelona.”
In 1978 Cruyff played a series of guest matches for the famous New York Cosmos and crossed paths with Brazilian legend Pele, who finished his career with the NASL side in 1977.
“I had a chance to spend a little time with him in the United States when we had the tournament there with the New York
Cosmos,” Pele said.
“He was my friend. I hope God stays with him in a good place.” He added.

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