Sadly, Dutch football legend JOHAN CRUIJFF, number 14, has passed away. On Thursday 24 March 2016, he lost his fight to cancer.
Johan Cruijff was a Dutch professional football player and coach. As a player he won the Ballon d’Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974. Cruyff was one of the most famous exponents of the football philosophy known as Total Football explored by Rinus Michels, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in football history. In the 1970s, Dutch football rose from near obscurity to become a powerhouse in the sport. Cruyff led the Netherlands to the final of the 1974 FIFA World Cup and received the Golden Ball as player of the tournament.
At club level, Cruyff started his career at Ajax where he won eight Eredivisie titles, three European Cups and one Intercontinental Cup. In 1973 he moved to FC Barcelona for a world record transfer fee, winning La Liga in his first season and was named European Footballer of the Year. After retiring from playing in 1984, Cruyff became highly successful as manager of Ajax and later FC Barcelona; he remained an influential advisor to both clubs.
In 1999, Cruyff was voted European Player of the Century in an election held by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics, and came second behind Pelé in their World Player of the Century poll
A couple of his -often inimitable- statements:
- If we have the ball, they can’t score.
- Each disadvantage has its advantage.
- Before I make a mistake, I won’t make that mistake.
- The Italians can’t beat us, but we can lose against them.
- You have to shoot, or you can’t score.
- Coincidence is logical.
- Soccer is simple, but it is difficult to play simple.
- Sometimes something’s got to happen before something is going to happen.
- Speed is often confused with insight. When I start running earlier than the others, I appear faster.
- To win you have to score one more goal than your opponent.
- Without the ball, you can’t win.
- If you’re not there, you’re either too early or too late.
Rest in peace, Johan.
And though he is ‘there’ now, his spirit lives on in every child. After all, all it takes is a bit of space and a ball.
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Footnote: Football versus Soccer