Cruyff laments Barca downfall


Barcelona endured a trophy-less campaign last season and were plagued with issues off the field as well, including allegations made against star player Lionel Messi for tax fraud, former president Sandro Rosell appearing in court for alleged corruption over Neymar’s transfer, as well as a transfer ban being imposed on the club for misdemeanours in signing under-age players.

And Dutch forward Cruyff, who spent five successful years at the Camp Nou in the 1970s, revealed his disappointment in seeing the Catalans in their current state.

"I am sorry to see Barcelona this way,” he said. “We have lost a lot of prestige in the world. With the Unicef partnership, it was the jewel of the world and everyone wanted to watch Barca.

"Everyone who loves this club is not happy with what is happening, between the trials and a president who can go to jail."

Cruyff also revealed his opinion of star Argentinean Lionel Messi, and whether or not he will still thrive alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez.

"Messi does not play alone," the 67-year-old said. "It's easy to say that someone does not work. I do see a happy Messi.

"Give him, Suarez and Neymar time. Next year we will sit here and see how it goes."

Cruyff aired his views of the coaching situation at Barca, backing new mentor Luis Enrique but suggesting that there are further questionable matters occurring behind the scenes.

"Luis Enrique loves football,” he said. “It is very difficult for me to give advice to him. Barcelona went from having two coaches in nine years, to three in three now. There's more going on than we can see."

Following two successive League defeats – the first time since May 2009 – Barcelona have slipped to fourth place in the La Liga standings, but just two points adrift of leaders Real Madrid.