Pep Guardiola: Johan Cruyff influenced a generation of coaches

LONDON, England -- Pep Guardiola believes Johan Cruyff should be remembered as the "most influential person" in the history of football.

Cruyff, who passed away earlier this year, has been credited with formulating the blueprint for success that the two major clubs in his life -- Ajax and Barcelona -- still adhere to today.

The Netherlands great served as a player and coach in both Amsterdam and Catalonia, and it was as Barca boss that he gave a young Guardiola his first team debut 26 years ago.

"It was a masterclass after every single training session, every single game," the Manchester City coach remembered at an event in London to mark the release of a book about Cruyff entitled: "My Turn: The Autobiography."

"[We would] analyse after the game why we played good, played bad. It was a coach's university every single day.

"I think Johan was the most influential person in football in all history. He changed not one club, he changed two clubs. As a player and as a coach, it is impossible to find a guy like this."

Guardiola admitted that his own career would not have followed the path that it has had he not come into contact with Cruyff as a teenager at Barcelona.

And he pointed to the number of players who have graduated through the systems implemented by Cruyff at Ajax and Barca, to become coaches themselves as evidence of his legacy.

"[When] people think about the best managers, they always talk about how many prizes, how many titles you win. That is, I think, a huge mistake, because at the end the best managers win a lot of titles because we are in the big clubs with the big players.

"The best managers, they influence the new generation, especially their players. The influence Johan had on all the players, I can't remember all the names from Ajax, [Marco] van Basten, [Frank] Rijkaard, all those players are coaches.

"Many, many players from Barcelona are coaches right now. His influence on us was outstanding, amazing, huge, that's why we try to follow all that he taught us.

"His impact on us was huge, so it is not comparable with another one because he was special."

One coach that Cruyff felt was comparable with himself, though, appears to be former Manchester United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Dutch icon's son, Jordi, said that his father approved of his decision to join Manchester United from Barcelona in 1996, telling him he would find a manager who "knows how to take care of his young players."

"He always had a big admiration for English football, for the passion, for the organisation, for the fans, for the way football is lived here," Jordi said.

"I think one of the things he liked about Sir Alex Ferguson was that he was not afraid to let the kids play. And I think he felt some kind of bond with Alex Ferguson."