Football: How the world reacted to the death of Johan Cruyff

Dutch soccer legend Johan Cruyff in a 2013 file photo. PHOTO: EPA

PARIS (AFP) - Reactions from around the world to the death of Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff, who died on Thursday at the age of 68 from lung cancer:

"We have lost a great man. May we carry on his example of excellence. Johan Cruyff was a great player and coach. He leaves a very important legacy for our family of football." - Brazilian legend Pele

"We will never forget you, skinny." - Argentine football legend Diego Maradona

"Another legend has left us." - Argentina and Barcelona star, Lionel Messi, on Facebook

"We will always love you, Johan. Rest in peace." - Barcelona, via Twitter, mourn the loss of their former player and coach, who guided the club to a first European Cup title in 1992

"I've lost a friend, the world has lost a great man. I admired him, he was the best player of all time." - Former French great Michel Platini led the tributes to Cruyff, who like himself was a three-time winner of the Ballon d'Or award

"He was one of the greatest footballers I have ever seen, you would put him in the same class as Pele, (Alfredo) di Stefano and (Diego) Maradona. The kind of football he played changed the game and still has an impact today." - England hero Bobby Charlton remembered Cruyff as one of the finest players to grace the pitch

"I am shocked. Johan Cruyff is dead. He was not only a very good friend, but also a brother to me." - Franz Beckenbauer, who captained Germany to a 2-1 victory over Cruyff and Netherlands in the 1974 World Cup final, wrote on Twitter

"A sad day. A legend and key person for Barca and football departs. My deepest condolences to the family." - Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta, a product of the world renowned La Masia academy that was the brainchild of Cruyff

"Johan Cruyff gave football a unique touch that some try to copy. I'm very moved. He was an extraordinary personality who, along with Rinus Michels, kicked off total football." - Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter

"Deeply saddened at the death of my best coach and good friend. Thanks for everything. Forever in our heart." - Ex-Dutch international Ronald Koeman, who scored Barcelona's winning goal in the 1992 European Cup final

"Goodbye to one of the legends of the history of football." - Real Madrid and Spain defender Sergio Ramos

"My first coach overseas, one of the best coaches I ever had. A very important man in my career. We had a great loss" - Former Barcelona and Portugal star Luis Figo

"As a player, as a coach, you changed the history of our club. Thank you, Johan." - Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu

"He enriched football and gave it a new face. He was a Dutch icon. Johan Cruyff belonged to all of us." - King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands

"Very very saddened by the demise of @JohanCruyff RIP Sir. Football has truly lost a jewel. My thoughts and prayers with his family." - India cricket star Virat Kohli on Twitter

"I don't have the words to describe the pain I am feeling. MY COACH, my friend. Rest in peace, my friend. Thanks for everything. You will always by at my side." - Former Bulgarian and Barcelona star Hristo Stoitchkov on Instagram

"Thank you for all you gave to football, to Ajax and to Barca." - Current Barcelona and former Ajax striker Luis Suarez on Twitter from Brazil where he was preparing for his international return Friday for Uruguay

"We've lost our best-ever footballer, our Number 14, our greatest football friend." - Royal Dutch Football Federation chairman Michael van Praag

"World football is sad today after the death of Johan Cruyff. He left an indelible imprint on the game." - France coach Didier Deschamps whose side face the Netherlands in a friendly in Amsterdam on Friday

"Johan Cruyff was the greatest European player in history. He and Bobby Charlton impressed me most in my career. They were inventive and leaders on the pitch. Cruyff had great charisma and speed." - Former Real Madrid and England coach Fabio Capello

"A genius has left us and when a genius leaves us we are left with a feeling of emptiness." - Fernando Santos, coach of the Portugal national team

"Very sad to hear of the passing of Johan Cruyff, who I was lucky enough to meet. A very important person for our sport." - Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal, whose uncle Miguel Angel played for Barcelona in the 1990s

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.