A winning mentality

Johan Cruyff is gone, but we will continue to see his football every week and we will go on to enjoy it for a long time to come. He was the creator of Barça’s current style of play, which has made them a winning team. Cruyff put an end to the club’s trademark conformity, its victim mentality and its time-honored, unfulfilled urge to win. First as a player and later, above all, as a manager, he put Barça on the world map with his Dream Team.

Cruyff's contribution, however, goes far beyond football, because his personality became a reference for Catalonia, above and beyond any differences in color or sporting allegiance. By changing Barça, he also contributed to changing the Catalan character. His great achievement was to open our eyes and show us that we could win, not only in sport, but also as a nation. His winning mentality spread through the whole of Catalan society. But, at the same time, he showed that this is achieved by working, through effort, tenacity, and audacity. Success is never free, but the result of hard work. And all this with a sense of enjoyment, of going out to play and enjoying yourself --so healthy in many respects. The values evident in his sporting career and personal life are widely shared by Catalan society, which today also has its eyes set on ambitious goals.

Cruyff’s stint coaching Catalonia’s national football team —a gesture that honors him— ultimately proved his commitment to the nation that had welcomed him. His example serves to expose those who never want anything to change, those who say that there is nothing that can be done, those whose motto remains "tomorrow is another day". Instead, now we always aim to win, true to his legacy. And this applies to all aspects of life. He overcame a heart attack, swapped cigarettes for lollipops, and fought cancer to the bitter end. Cruyff has died, but he hasn't lost because his image will always be associated with victory.

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Carles Puigdemont is the President of Catalonia