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Home -> Blogs -> Free Kick -> 10 Things You Did Not Know About Johan Cruyff

10 Things You Did Not Know About Johan Cruyff

Mar 25, 2016 19:48

“Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.” – JOHAN CRUYFF

Johan Cruyff has impacted football more than we give him credit for. The greatest exponent of Total Football, the architect of Barcelona’s success, one of the best footballers of all times passed away on 24th March, 2015. It is safe to say he single-handedly revolutionized football. His contributions to not just the sides that he has managed but football as a sport is what makes him the legend he is. Let us look at 10 things we did not know about “The Flying Dutchman” that will help us know more about him.

1) Barcelona signed “The Flying Dutchman” for 6 million, a transfer record then

Johan Cruyff joined Barcelona in 1973, for a record transfer fee of 6 Million Guilder or 2 Million USD. He immediately helped them win a La Liga and won the European Player of the Year Award for his on-field exploits.

PS: He received the name flying Dutchman after scoring an almost impossible goal for Barcelona, Managing to beat the keeper with his heels when the ball was at the level of his neck!

2) His Move to Barcelona was surrounded with controversy

His move to Barcelona was surrounded with controversy as he was offered to Real Madrid but rejected them due to their affiliation with Spanish Dictator Franco whom he openly opposed. The outspoken Dutch international openly supported the Catalan Nationalism and became famous for his on the field and off the pitch support of the Catalans.

He was a Legend – in every sense of the word.

3) Took the total football philosophy to another level

The total football philosophy that made Ajax the giants in the 1970’s was mastered by Cruyff and he not only implied this during his playing days but his coaching days as well. He was so versatile that he was comfortable in playing in every position on the pitch.

If Outfield players could switch with goalkeepers easily, Cruyff would not have left that position as well.

4) Netherlands never lost a match when he scored and he was the first dutch player to get a red card!

The Netherlands national football team never lost a match in which The Flying Dutchman scored a goal and in his 48 appearances he managed to score 33. He was also the First Dutch Player to Receive a Red and he managed to achieve this feat in a friendly against Czechoslovakia.

He definitely made his presence felt! A “once in a generation kind of player”

5) He supported Barcelona on and off the pitch

He supported the Catalans nationalism and even he named his son Jordi, after the patron saint of Catalonia. Since all symbols of Catalan nationalism were made illegal by General Franco, Johan registered his baby boy’s name in Netherlands as Jordi was banned in Spain.

He definitely had some guts and actions like these made him immortal in the eyes of the Catalans

6) He Joined Rivals Feyenoord in his last season as player

After he was not given a contract at the end of the 1982-83 season, Cruyff joined Ajax’s rivals Feyenoord. He went on to win the league and the domestic cup with the side. Despite his age, he represented Feyenoord in every league match except for 1.

P.S. It was Feyenoord’s first league win in 10 seasons and Cruyff made it happen. What seemed like Ajax’s loss was clearly Feyenoord’s gain.

7) He was a Trendsetter - Famously wore no.14

Every player in the Dutch squad was given a jersey number according to an alphabetical manner between 1 and 11. Cruyff on the other hand wanted a different number and the stubborn Dutchman did everything he could to wear it. He succeeded and thus set a trend which saw players choose numbers

8) La Masia is his Brainchild and Tiki Taka

Ajax’s youth academy that produced numerous stars over the years is actually the inspiration behind La Masia. His Philosophy of Training young and the Tiki Taka produced a side that was destined to dominate. We would not have seen the likes of Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets, Pique, Pedro, Valdes, Puyol and other superstars in Barcelona had it not been for him.

Keeping Barcelona’s success aside, Spain too followed the tiki – taka style and were successful in winning two Euros and a World Cup! What a Visionary!

9) Barcelona's success is down to him

The Flying Dutchman spent roughly 40% of his life between Ajax and Barcelona inculcated a philosophy that not only affected the team immediately but also helped them on a long term basis. Many members of his dream team are now managers. Pep Guardiola, Ronald Koeman,Hristo Stoichkov, Gheorghe Hagi Michael Laudrup, Eusebio Sacristán all became coaches.

Guardiola surpassed Cruyff in becoming the most successful manager with FC Barcelona

10) He has a dribbling technique, a College, a University, a Foundation, an award, a trophy and a planet all named after him

- The Cruyff turn – a dribbling technique

- The Johan Cruyff Foundation – provided the people with over 200 Cruyff courts in 22 countries

- The Johan Cruyff College – a college for elite athletes

- Johan Cruijff Schaal (Johan Cruijff Shield) – The Dutch Supercup between the league winner and dutch cup winner.

- Johan Cruijff Award – the Dutch player of the year award, given to the best player in the first and second division leagues.

- The 14282 Cruijff (2097 P-L) was named after the Dutch Legend and was officially approved in 2010.

Speaks volumes about The Flying Dutchman isn’t it?

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