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Graham Hunter Pays An Emotional Tribute To Johan Cruyff And Recalls Last Meeting

Graham Hunter Pays An Emotional Tribute To Johan Cruyff And Recalls Last Meeting
By Conor Neville

Footballers and writers have spent the day trying to summon up the words to do full justice to the life and legacy of Johan Cruyff.

Graham Hunter, renowned football journalist and author, may have struck the right tone. He loved Cruyff beyond anyone else in football.  The phrase 'ardent admirer' doesn't even cover it.

Johan Cruyff is 'football's single greatest man'. We spoke to Graham today on the Racket today.

He interviewed Cruyff on a few occasions and admitted he was overcome with emotion when he heard news of Cruyff's death today.

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Tears... I was overcome by emotion. I was deeply shocked. I most recently spent time with him in November in Berlin. And I was in heaven, both as a journalist, a broadcaster, a lover of football. I think it's well known in your country that my club in Aberdeen. They inspire me. I still adore them. But there's never been any single figure in sport that I've loved more than Johan Cruyff.

I consider Johan Cruyff to be the single most important, single most influential man, pound for pound, in the history of football.

I feel robbed. When I saw him in Berlin for that long, nourishing chat about football, he seemed to like a 58 year old man or a 55 year old man. Not 68. He seemed live and bright and young and fun. He was as cussed and stubborn as he ever was but he was also generous and funny. And I knew I was in the presence of greatness. And we don't often get that in our lives.

In addition to Cruyff's unforgettable brilliance as a player, his achievements as a manager rank up there with the greatest of them all. And his legacy continues still.

As Hunter himself wrote sometime ago,'Without him, there would be no Pep Guardiola, no Leo Messi, no Xavi and no Andres Iniesta. They would have been judged to be too slow, too small – table footballers.'

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Read more: Pep Guardiola's Words Sum Up Johan Cruyff's Legacy Better Than Anything Else

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