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Page last updated at 09:50 GMT, Saturday, 6 June 2009 10:50 UK

Cruyff backs Martinez's decision

Jordi Cruyff
Martinez's close friend Cruyff has helped him with his decision making

Close friend Jordi Cruyff says manager Roberto Martinez's impending switch from Swansea to Wigan is "absolutely not" about money.

Martinez has been on holiday in his native Spain to consider his future, spending time with former Barcelona and Manchester United winger Cruyff.

"I know some of the details, money is absolutely not the major issue," Cruyff told BBC Wales' The Back Page show.

"The Premier call's big, especially after Roberto's six years at Wigan."

Martinez and Cruyff have been friends since they were teenagers and Martinez is the godfather to the former Netherland international's children.

Cruyff, the son of Netherlands legend Johann, even spent time training with Martinez at Swansea in 2004.

"I know for many it's a shock move and the Swansea fans will be very disappointed and hurt," said Cruyff, with Martinez expected to take over Premier League side Wigan early next week.

"I've been with Roberto for a few days, I know he had very, very big doubts and felt bad about the situation.

"It was a difficult decision for him. He also had a difficult decision when he gave up playing to become a manager at Swansea, but he made the best choice.

"Now a Premier League club have come in for him, one where he will have the same people around him from all his years as a player.

"He didn't make the Premier as a player. It's a very, very special league, and all the managers in the world would love a chance there."

Roberto Martinez turned down a lot of other clubs, many of them were not mentioned in the media, including sides in Spain

Jordi Cruyff

Martinez received many plaudits for his side's style of play in the Championship last season, as they finished just outside the play-off spots in eighth place.

"He embarked on a road with Swansea, and the chairman [Huw Jenkins] has been fantastic to him," said Cruyff.

"But he had limited resources player-wise. I know Swansea wanted to keep Jordi Gomez, but they couldn't compete with what other clubs were offering.

"Swansea fans will now be expecting a fight for promotion... I'm not sure if that's realistic when they will be competing against sides like Newcastle.

"Sometimes in football the train only comes one time."

A host of clubs have tried to prise Martinez away from the Liberty Stadium but, after an initial approach from Wigan was turned down by Jenkins, the two sides agreed compensation thought to be in the region of £2m.


The manager's job at Wigan became available after Steve Bruce left to take charge of Sunderland.

"Wigan were the only club who could have got Roberto to make this decision," said Cruyff.

"I know because he turned down a lot of other clubs. Many of them were not mentioned in the media, including sides in Spain."

As the contenders to succeed Martinez at Swansea begin to line up, Cruyff himself, currently assistant manager at Maltese side Valetta, has been listed as a possible contender.

He says he does not know where the rumours have come from and that it would be an unlikely move.

"I'd have to think about it... I think it's not for me, but in life you never know," he said.

"The chairman [Jenkins] knows how to make a good choice. I'm sure he'll follow the same path that he did with Roberto and find an adequate replacement."

* Listen to The Back Page every Saturday morning 0830-0900 BST on BBC Radio Wales; also available for one week after transmission on the BBC iPlayer.

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see also
BBC Radio Wales' The Back Page
13 Jul 07 |  Wales
Hughes interested in Swansea job
05 Jun 09 |  Swansea
Wigan explain Martinez deal delay
12 Jun 09 |  Wigan
Cruyff trains with Swansea
07 Oct 04 |  Swansea
Swansea job interests Hughes
05 Jun 09 |  Swansea
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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