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08.04.2010 16:43

Goosebumps in Sala Paris

Jordi Clos

There was solemnity, emotion and memories as Johan Cruyff was made president of honour of FC Barcelona. It was a highly symbolic moment, from what was said on the stage to the pictures shown on the giant screen.

Johan Cruyff, Bobby Charlton and Eusebio up front; Pep Guardiola, Carles Puyol, Víctor Valdés, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández in the middle; and Juan Manuel Asensi, Hristo Stichkov and Ronald Koeman at the back. This is not far off being one of the finest footballing XIs ever, and they were all gathered at midday today in Sala Paris to see Cruyff named president of honour of FC Barcelona. Living legends of the game making this one of the most historic occasions in FC Barcelona history.

Three eras of the Cruyff style

At 13.09, and overseen by Barça TV’s Eduard Pujol, the ceremony began. A video showing some of Cruyff’s greatest moments both as a player, a coach and at the current service of Barça welcomed everybody to the event.

2010-04-08_CRUYFF_012.JPGIn fact, many of the people that appeared in the video were also here today. Many had played alongside him, some on the night of that famous 5-0 win at the Bernabéu. Goalkeepers Salvador Sadurní and Pere Valentí Mora most probably mentioned the game in their cosy chat. We were also joined by two of Cruyff’s greatest disciples, Stoichkov and Koeman. Both heartily applauded the speech given by President Laporta and the proud, and sometimes nervous, words of the Dutchman. And these included many of his trademark expressions to delight the audience, including his tender words for the man who oversaw his transfer back in 1973: Armand Carabén.

2010-04-08_CRUYFF_034.JPGDignified inheritors of the 110 years of the club’s history, the four current team captains and coaches Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova represented the Barça of the Six Cups, who also appeared several time in the video being shown. Their gestures from 2009 provoked smiles, applause and even tears in the room.

Memorable photo

2010-04-08_CRUYFF_019.JPGCruyff was the inspiration for the style that has taken Barça through its most successful period ever, as stressed by all today’s pictures and speeches. That model was reflected for eternity in the photo of Laporta, Begiristain, Cruyff and Guardiola. They were then joined by Sir Charlton and Eusebio, who along with Cruyff are three of the greatest European footballers ever, and are now all honorary members of the clubs they serve and love (Barça, Manchester United and Benfica).
Goosebumps in Sala Paris

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Huge expectation
160 guests packed Sala París for the event, which was broadcast live on Barça TV, and was covered by 70 different media, including some from Holland.

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