Football legend Johan Cruyff has spoken out on Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s bids to win the Ballon d’Or, and discussed Pep Guardiola as well as his successor at Barcelona, Tito Vilanova.
Opinions are divided as to who should be crowned the world’s best player for 2012, and the Dutch legend tossed his hat into the ring and offered his views during the presentation of his new book Football. My Philosophy.
“One says, the other thinks. Everyone wants a trophy and will be very proud to have it. Those types of awards are subjective, it’s what, in general, the people like.
“Messi is very small and what he does with his feet is the same as what a child does and it’s magnificent. The best thing to do with Messi is to put him forward, not to the side.
“If you go on the attack and have a very attacking team, space is very limited. High quality players move like Messi does and like Romario did.”
The 65-year-old also spoke about the reasons behind Barcelona’s achievements in recent campaigns.
“The number of players in the squad and its function is important. The important thing is that each player in the Barcelona team has quality. If you see [David] Villa, [Christian] Tello or Pedro [Rodriguez] there is competition and that can yield more.
“Barcelona are creating many goals and that’s because everyone is doing their role and so it doesn’t matter who scores. Now almost everyone is scoring goals.”
The eight-time Eredivisie winner also spoke about former Barca coach Pep Guardiola and his successor Tito Vilanova.
“Guardiola has been a quality tactician. There is a little difference between Pep and Tito, though,” he added. “Tito has a team that has been firing, but he faces the difficulty of surpassing someone who was very good.
“He’ll have to face it, so that the day doesn’t come where things aren’t going so well. The tactician’s role is not to teach football to Messi, because Messi is a better player than Tito [was].
“What’s important is that he is happy, like everyone else, and Tito is doing that very well.
“To be a good coach you must have been a good player. You have many things [as a coach] that are learned as a player – to press and keep up the team-work on the field for example.”