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Barcelona players pay tribute to Johan Cruyff in their last match © Getty Images

Barcelona: Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu on Saturday opened a memorial space in the Camp Nou grandstand here to mark the passing of Johan Cruyff, who died on Thursday at 68. During the memorial event, Bartomeu underlined that Barcelona could not “be understood without Cruyff’s influence”. A large photo of Cruyff, who died after a struggle with lung cancer, was hung up with Catalan words “Gracies, Johan” or “Thank you, Johan”, reports Efe.

Bartomeu said “these are very sad days” for Barcelona and its fans, indicating that the memorial space will be open until Tuesday according to an agreement with Cruyff’s family. Bartomeu was the first to address the media to pay tribute to Cruyff, who was also praised by key figures from Barcelona and the Catalan civil society.

“The current Barcelona would not be understood without Cruyff’s influence,” Bartomeu said. The Barcelona president also admitted that Cruyff “was a teacher for a whole generation” as the Dutchman “added a modern touch” and brought “a new playing philosophy”.