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Johan Cruyff Biography



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Johan Cruyff

FULL NAME: Hendrik Johannes Cruijff
DATE / PLACE OF BIRTH: 25th April 1947; Amsterdam, Netherlands
NATIONALITY: Dutch
TEAMS: Dutch National Team, Ajax, Barcelona, LA Aztecs, Washington Diplomats
PLAYING POSITION Attacking Midfielder/ Forward.

KICK OFF
Hendrik Johannes Crujiff or Johan Cruyff, as the world knows him best, is widely believed to be one of the most
influential players of the modern era. He, along with his club and country coach, Rinus Michels, popularized the concept of Total Football to the world.Total Football is a footballing philosophy in which any outfield player can assume the position of any other outfielder thereby creating a very fluid and dynamic system. After retiring as a player, he went on to coach the Ajax and Barcelona senior sides. He is also widely credited in playing an instrumental role in the setting up of La Masia, the now famous Barcelona youth academy. His legacy lives on at both clubs he managed. The clubs are generally considered to be greatest proponents of Johan Cruyff’s playing philosophy in the modern era.

HIS-STORY
Johan Cruyff was born on 25th April 1947 in Amsterdam-East, a few hundred yards from the Ajax stadium. His father, Manus, a grocer, supplied Ajax with fruit. His mother used to clean the club’s changing rooms. It was due to this proximity that a young Johan spent a majority of his formative years at the club. It was his father’s death while he was still twelve that left a lasting impression on Johan Cruyff. It was as a fatherless boy in a dressing room full of men that Johan became mentally tough and fiercely competitive, traits he came to be renowned for. After having joined the youth team when he was 10, Johan Cruyff broke into the first team when he was 17. On debut, Ajax lost 3-1 to a club called GVAV. After that, his mother forbade him from playing any away games. It was only the next year that his, and Ajax’s, which was then a little semi-professional unit, fortunes changed. This was because a former gym teacher for deaf children, Rinus Michels came to the club and vowed to rewrite history. Ajax went from strength to strength thereafter. With Johan Cruyff in the team, Ajax won 8 Eredivisie titles from 1965 to 1983. During the time, Ajax also won three consecutive European Cups from 71’-73’. In the summer of 1973, Johan Cruyff was sold to Barcelona. He won the La Liga in his first season there. He went on to score in 48 goals during his five years at Barcelona. He ended his playing career in 1984 at Feyenoord. Johan Cruyff was also captain and the brains behind the Dutch side taking the world by storm in the 1974 World Cup. They were only denied by Germany in the final but the impression that Johan Cruyff and his side left on the world can never be discounted. That was his only World Cup finals appearance, however. He went on to score 33 goals in the 48 games he played for the national team. As a manager, Johan Cruyff won four La Ligas with Barcelona to go with one European Cup. He assembled the famous Barcelona Dream Team during his time there.

SCORE CARD
Johan Cruyff is one of the most decorated men in European football. As a player, he won 8 Eredivisie titles with Ajax and one with Barcelona. He won the BallonD’or on three occasions. He also won the FIFA Golden Ball in the 1974 World Cup in which he led his country to the final. In an election held by the IFHSS in 1999, Johan Cruyff was voted the European Player of the Century. As a manager he won the league title with Barcelona on four occasions. He also led Barcelona to their maiden European Cup triumph in 1992. In that year and the year before he also won the Ballon D’Or equivalent for managers, the Don Balon.

TRIVIA
In Netherlands, Johan Cruyff is famous for his unique one liners in his distinct Amsterdam dialect. They are usually riddled with tautologies and paradoxes. He expresses a range of opinions on diverse subjects. Henk Davidse , in fact, compiled Johan Cruyffisms, as they are popularly known, into a best selling book. He was even voted sixth in a poll to determine the Greatest Dutchman of all time.

OFFSIDE
Johan Cruyff received a lot of criticism from certain parts in Spain when he named his son Jordi after the Catalan patron saint of love. This was believed to be a slight against the reigning Franco regime at the time which had banned all symbols of Catalan nationalism.

TIE BREAKER
In an age of Russian rubles and Gulf money being pumped into football, the relevance of Johan Johan Cruyff has never been more important. La Masia, Barcelona’s famed youth academy that Johan Cruyff played an instrumental role in establishing, is the envy of all of Europe today. It is the vision of beautiful football that Johan Cruyff has, and the style he continues to endorse, that top teams aspire to in the modern era.

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