Thousands visit Cruyff memorial in Barcelona

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Madrid, March 29 (IANS) Tens of thousands of football fans have flocked to the memorial set up at FC Barcelona’ s Camp Nou stadium to remember football legend Johan Cruyff.

Cruyff, who passed away on March 24, aged 68, after losing his battle against lung cancer, is considered to be one of the greatest players and coaches in the game and he is also credited with turning around the fortunes of Barcelona and helping to turn them into the club which today dominates world football, reports Xinhua.

News of his death last Thursday saw fans spontaneously visit Barcelona’ s ground to deposit flowers, scarves and his favourite “Chupa-Chup” lollipop, which he used to suck in the dugout. The club then decided to set aside a space for an official memorial which opened on Saturday.

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Over 31,000 people visited the memorial over the weekend, with another 13,000 passing by on Monday, which was a holiday in Barcelona. Many more are expected to visit on Tuesday before the four days of mourning are officially brought to a close when members of Cruyff’ s family, led by his son, Jordi also attend the memorial.

Some fans just left messages giving their thanks to Cruyff, while members of Barcelona’ s junior and women’s teams also passed by to show their respect for the man who had helped to modernise the club’ s youth system, which produced players such as Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Pep Guardiola.

Current club president, Josep Bartomeu and his predecessors also visited the memorial in a show of solidarity, while Cruyff’ s memory is sure to be present this coming Saturday when Barcelona entertain eternal rivals, Real Madrid in the “Clasico” derby match at the Camp Nou.

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