Johan Cruyff (left) with Shimon Peres (right) (Source: Shimon Peres' Facebook page)

Johan Cruyff (left) with Shimon Peres (right) (Source: Shimon Peres’ Facebook page)

Israeli statesman and former president and prime minister Shimon Peres, has paid tribute to legendary Dutch football star Johan Cruyff, who died aged 68 today.

Writing on Facebook, Peres said:

“..Johan was more than just a great soccer player. He was a role model who promoted world peace. He brought the values of education into the game of football and proved that on the field, everyone is equal- Jews, Muslims and Christians- that running fast and playing well will lead to victory in spite of discrimination and racism. Your work promoting sport and peace gave hope to children and youth around the world.”

The Peres Center for Peace and the Cruyff Foundation have a long history of cooperation utilizing peace education and social change through sport. During his visits to Israel, Cruyff often visited the activities of the Peres Center’s “Twinned Peace Sports Schools” program and was a supportive friend, who strongly believed that, through sport, we can create significant social change, and he saw this as his personal mission.”