Johan Cruyff had a soft spot for Ernesto Valverde, whom he coached at Barcelona between 1988 and 1990. It wasn't just his intelligence on the pitch which stood out but the passion he had for football and his insatiable desire to learn. The Dutchman revolutionised Barcelona and his football philosophy was contagious. It's no surprise that many players from that era have decided to become coaches.
10 years ago, when Valverde was at Espanyol, Cruyff was asked if he saw Valverde as a Barcelona coach in the future. "His work is more than excellent. If you watch Espanyol play it's good to watch I'm very happy there are people like him and Rijkaard who are trying to play in a way people can enjoy, because that's what football's for," he told TV3.
Then in 2012 when Valverde joined Valencia, Cruyff added: "It's a great selection by Valencia. When he was a player he was very intelligent and he always showed me his interest in football and learning. He's one of the most outstanding and promising coaches in Spanish football."