Johan Cruyff, who has died aged 68, has spoken of his excitement at bringing his football philosophy to the pitches of heaven, with such late heavyweights as Eusébio and Alfredo di Stefano welcoming the Dutchman’s early arrival.
The legendary player, who lost his battle with lung cancer, spoke in his unique way about his unique opportunity to change the way the game is played amongst the immortals.
After posing for photographs outside St. Peter’s Gate, the former Ajax legend said: ‘It was hard to leave the world, but already I am thinking about my new life. I have already had a word with Rinus Michels, and how they only play 4-4-2 here; I am confident that my fluid 4-3-3/3-4-3 will be successful’.
Cruyff continued: ‘For me, the game must always be about space. And it’s clear already that there is nothing but space up here. We must be like an accordion – squeezing up in defence, and opening up in attack. My strikers must be prepared to defend, and my defenders attack’.
Portuguese icon Eusébio, who passed on in 2014, said: ‘Johan was always a tough opponent, and I don’t see that changing now. Look what he brings: three European Cups, ten league titles, captaining his side to a World Cup Final. He changed the way we play the game, on and off the pitch. Earth’s loss is definitely our gain’.
Di Stefano added: ‘If he tries to turn me, I’ll kick him. No one makes a fool of Alfredo’.
Cruyff has yet to declare alliegience to any one team, but has already made it clear that he must be allowed to don the number 14 shirt, and kit himself out entirely in Puma kit.