In just over a year it will be ready to begin a new era in Barcelona's reserve, youth and women's football. The stadium named after Johan Cruijff will be ready in late 2018.
He played with number 14 and 9 on his back, thus the date of September 14 isn't accidental. Johan Cruijff's stadium in Barcelona saw groundbreaking today in Sant Joan Despí, within the FC Barcelona football academy.
The list of attendees was long, beginning with the widow and two daughters of Cruijff, whose name in its international form (Cruyff) will adorn the future 6,000-seater. They were joined by the mayor and high-ranking FC Barcelona officials, as well as Andrés Iniesta and Gerard Deulofeu of the first team, captains of Barca B and the women's team, as well as young players down to Under-12.
With so many participants the ceremony represents just how many generations of young players will use the stadium in the future, as it's expected to host all major reserve, youth and women's games, as well as being part of the training facilities.
Moving to Estadi Johan Cruyff means a crucial change for matches of the reserves. They will no longer be held in the shade of Camp Nou, at Mini Estadi. The current secondary stadium is about to be demolished in order to make way for the revamped Espai Barca complex, primarly the new basketball arena.
Today saw the official time capsule burried in the ground. The transparent box contains shirt and ball with numerous autographs, memorabilia connected to Johan Cruijff himself, as well as more traditional elements, including today's newspapers and banknotes currently in use. They will all be available to see once the stadium is ready in late 2018, because the plan is to dig up the capsule after today and before actual foundation works commence.
In 14 months the modern stadium should be ready, becoming the first official commemoration of Johan Cruijff in Barcelona, though most likely not the last.