Johan Cruyff, the man most closely associated with Rinus Michels, says that Holland had lost a figurehead with the death of the former national coach.

Michels, who died earlier today, led a Dutch team, of whom Cruyff was the outstanding member, to the 1974 World Cup final which they lost 2-1 to West Germany in Munich.

“I always greatly admired his leadership,” said Cruyff. “He was always very clear in what he wanted and what he expected from you and sometimes in order to achieve that he overdid it a bit.

“Then when things started working, he would ease up a bit and give you more freedom.

“Both as a player and as a coach there is nobody who taught me as much as him. I will miss Rinus Michels.”

Michels and Cruyff won the European Cup with Ajax in 1971 and then moved to Barcelona where they won the Spanish title in 1974

“(He was) a sportsman who put the Netherlands on the map in such a way that almost everybody still benefits from it,” Cruyff said on his website.

“For the outside world, Michels and I were often seen as the trainer and the player, but after I moved to Barcelona from Ajax over 30 years ago a strong personal relationship developed.”