Cruyff: Barcelona used to sign playmakers, now Real Madrid do

The Dutchman is dismayed by the fact that James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos have ended up at the Santiago Bernabeu and not Camp Nou

Johan Cruyff is perturbed that Real Madrid are now acquiring the kind of players that he believes former club Barcelona used to be renowned for signing.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side paid a reported €80 million fee to Monaco for World Cup starlet James Rodriguez not long after Toni Kroos arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu from Bayern Munich for an estimated €25 million.

Cruyff has praised Los Blancos for bringing the pair to La Liga, giving his former club a subtle dig in the process.

“Kroos was one of the best players at Bayern and at the World Cup,” the Barca icon told Ultima Hora. “He sprays the ball around really well. James is also a terrific playmaker.

“Barca always used to sign lots of playmaker, but now Real have done so.”

Whereas in recent years – such as under the stewardship of Pep Guardiola – Barca have been able to thrive off their youth team products, they have splashed huge amounts of cash on Neymar and Luis Suarez in the past year or so.

Ivan Rakitic, Thomas Vermaelen, Claudio Bravo, Jeremy Mathieu and Marc-Andre ter Stegen are also among those whom Luis Enrique has brought on board for considerable fees this summer and Cruyff insists the club deserve time before they are judged on the vast amount of money they have spent on players in 2014.

“Barca have gone in a new direction and we have to give them the benefit of the doubt,” the ex-Barca coach and player continued.

“They’ve spent a lot of money, which always brings a lot of scrutiny, and we’ll have to see how it goes.

“I’ve been impressed by new Barcelona coach Luis Enrique’s enthusiasm to get down to work and give his all in his new role, though.

“The onus is on him to win over the players. You can bet that he won’t win over a couple of them and that’s when he’ll have to make some tough, strong decisions.”

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