The future Bayern Munich coach won 14 trophies during his four-year spell in charge of the Blaugrana before taking a one-year sabbatical, but Guardiola has stressed that the Netherlands icon is the main man behind the club's return to the top.
"Cruyff is the one who started it all. He has been the club's most influential figure," Guardiola was quoted as saying by El Tiempo. "We all have the ability to do certain things, but I would not have been able to build something from scratch like Cruyff did."
He added, "I learned a lot of things from him. I cannot imagine the current Barcelona without Cruyff's work 20 years ago. Everybody who came after him added a personal touch, but I will be eternally grateful to him."
Cruyff enjoyed a successful spell at Barca as player from 1973 until 1978 before returning as coach in 1988 for eight years.
The legendary Dutchman is by many seen as one of the key figures behind the club's La Masia youth academy.