Cruijff honoured with Amsterdam vigil, Ajax & Barça memorials
Johan Cruijff was honored in both Amsterdam and Barcelona this weekend. Ajax pulled out all the stops to commemorate the Dutch football legend before and during their match against PEC Zwolle on Sunday, even managing to honor him with a 3-0 win. Barcelona did the same during their match against Real Madrid on Saturday, though lost the game on Camp Nou 2-1.
In Amsterdam the memorials started with a vigil march from Middenweg in Amsterdam-Oost to the ArenA in Amsterdam Zuidoost, in which a number of prominent Ajax members took part. Meters-high banners decorated the outside of the stadium. Gigantic Ajax, FC Barcelona and Oranje shirts were painted on the field, each bearing the number Cruijff played for that team.
As the players entered the field, the audience in the ArenA formed Johan Cruijff's name in a living mosaic of colored paper. Ajax played the match in special shirts, adorned with a badge bearing number 14 and a portrait of Johan Cruijff. They also played with black armbands to show the "indestructible bond between club and icon", according to the club.
Head sponsor Ziggo also replaced its name with the number 14 on the video walls for the match. The video walls displayed texts and messages for Cruijff, including "Forever number 14" and "Thank you Johan".
Ajax also presented a condolence book, which was available to sign at the ArenA for more than a week, to Cruijff's son Jordi. More than 33,500 people signed the book, according to the Telegraaf.
FC Barcelona also pulled out all the stops to pay tribute to Cruijff, generally regarded as the man who changed FC Barcelona for a second-class club to a European powerhouse. Fifteen minutes before the game started in the sold out Camp Nou, images of Cruijff, or "El Falco" as he was known in Barcelona, were displayed on the score boards, according to NRC. And while the Barca song blared through the stadium's speakers, the audience formed a living mosaic with colored sheets, reading "Gracies Johan". The same words were also printed on the Barcelona players' shirts.
Overweldigend eerbetoon voor Johan Cruijff.
An overwhelming tribute to Johan Cruijff.
LIVE | Opkomst Ajacieden & eerbetoon Johan Cruijff!
LIVE | Ajax players walk out onto the pitch and fans pay tribute to Johan Cruijff!
Geplaatst door AFC Ajax op Zondag 3 april 2016
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 4, 2016