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Jan, 3, 2013

Cruyff to call time on coaching career

Johan Cruyff believes Wednesday night's 1-1 draw between Catalonia and Nigeria will be his last game as a coach.

The Netherlands legend, who starred as a player for Barcelona before guiding the club to their first European Cup as manager, has been in charge of the Catalonia representative side for three years but will now step down.

The 65-year-old has had a long association with the region, and famously named his son Jordi against the wishes of the Spanish government in 1974. He said he was proud of spell as coach, during which time Catalonia have gone unbeaten through friendlies with Argentina, Honduras, Tunisia and now Nigeria.

Cruyff told reporters afterwards that the game, played at Espanyol's Cornella-El Prat ground in front of over 27,000 fans, and featuring stars including Xavi Hernandez, Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets, Joan Capdevila and Bojan Krkic, would likely bring down the curtain on his coaching career.

"I do not think I will coach again," Cruyff said. "I do not see myself on another bench. Although I always do too many things and I am not going to be bored."

"I was very happy to do it. The players always wanted to be here. I am proud to have coached Catalonia."

When asked whether former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola would now succeed him as coach of the Catalan side, the Dutchman said it was probably a bit early for that to happen yet.

"Guardiola would be the ideal coach, but he is still very young for this," Cruyff said. "It now appears he is going to coach in England. If that happens he would not have time to take charge of Catalonia."

Veteran ex-Espanyol and Deportivo la Coruna midfielder Sergio Gonzalez put the Catalans ahead via an early penalty, with Nigeria's equaliser coming in the second half from Portland Timbers US-born attacker Bright Dike.

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