Six years after the sad death of Johan Cruyff, world football legend and considered one of the greatest players of all time, we remember his great achievements both during his time as a player and as a coach.
As a player, Cruyff was part of the team with the most goals in an Eredivisie (Ajax from 1966-67, which scored 122 goals) and later coached what is the second highest-scoring team in a single season in the Eredivisie (in the 1985- 86, with 120 goals).
Cruyff won 80% of his Eredivisie matches as a player, the highest percentage for a footballer with more than 75 appearances in the competition, and scored 20 goals or more in six consecutive leagues for Ajax.
Cruyff played with sensational elegance. He had an outrageous technical quality. And his criteria for making decisions put him at a level that very few manage to access. Johan played for ten seasons at Ajax in Amsterdam, signing in 1973 for FC Barcelona. He received the Ballon d’Or in 1971, 1973 and 1974. Cruyf was the most famous exponent of the football philosophy known as Total Football, developed by manager Rinus Michels.
In September 1966, Johan made his debut as a player for the Dutch national team in a match against Hungary, scoring a 2-2 draw in the last minute of the match. Despite being a fixture in the national team’s calls, he only played one World Cup in 1974.
The World Cup Final was played on July 7 and its protagonists were the Dutch team, with Cruyff in the lead, and the West German team with Franz Beckenbauer. In the first minute of the final, after 16 passes between the Dutch and without the Germans touching the ball, there was a penalty by Berti Vogts on Cruyff, which was charged by Johan Neeskens. Germany managed to equalize, and before the end of the first half Gerd Müller scored the second goal. Then, A Clockwork Orange showed off their great football, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Germans, who clinched the title. However, Johan would get the award for Best Player of the tournament.
Johan died on March 24, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, at the age of 68, a victim of lung cancer, leaving an enormous legacy in the world of football, as a player and as a coach.
Santiago de la Peña