Hendrik Johannes “Johan” Cruijff had passed away on 26 March 2016 due to lung cancer. A Ballon d’Or winner three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974 , UEFA Club Championship or UEFA Champion League for 3 consecutive years in 1971,1972 and 1973. A man that had changed Barcelona style of play and the Holland national team with Rinus Michel and also the Dutch Club Football. This man is non-other than Johan Cyruff a football artist, a man that see attacking football as an entertainment , possession football as his moto, never afraid to innovate and make any changes that is necessary, and a main whom have minimum appearance and maximum impact.
Johan Cyruff started his career with Ajax Amsterdam a Dutch Football Club and with Rinus Michel created the now famous Total Football. A very demanding style where it require the player to be comfortable in every position and have very high technical ability. This method is attack and defends at the same time. Johan Cyruff is the perfect exponent of this system where it is all about technic, intelligence, and space. With this they had bring the Dutch Football Team from a amateurish level to professional by being the second team after Real Madrid to win the Champion League on 3 consecutive year start on 1971,72, and 1973 and on the second and third final they had beat an Italian Team Intermilan and Juventus respectively and led to news that time brand the end of catennacio(Italian style of play where is more on the defense and counter attack). The team of Ajax had also dazzled the Dutch League Eredivise and still talked until today.
On the International Football Cyruff and Rinus Michel with Johan Neskeens and Ruud Krools qualify for the World Cup 1974 in West Germany for the first time in their history. They had mesmerized the entire world with this brand of football. Johan Cyruff had produced one of the most memorable moment in the football world with a skill called as Cyruff Turn.
With Cyruff on the top form they had beaten 3 South America en route to final where they had beaten Uruguay 2-0, Argentina 4 – 0, and defending champion Brazil 2-0 en route to final. In the final they had taken the lead in 1s minute with a slick passing and Cyruff had taken a run from the deep before been fouled by Berti Vogts to earn the Dutch team a penalty where they had scored. The best part is no German players had touched the ball. With the early lead they had decided to make a mockery of the German team and due to need to humiliate the Germans in their home ground with regards to the World War 2 incident and that had caused them as they had collapsed with a penalty from Paul Breitner and a winning goal from Gerd Muller. But a defiant Cyruff says “they are no better medal than to get appreciated for our style of play”. Indeed he is right as the Holland 1974 team was remembered more than the West German team and they had consistently appeared in any best team list even they had not won the World Cup or European Cup. Unfortunately this is one and only time Cyruff had involved as he did not participate in the World Cup 1978 in Argentina due to fear for this life as he had gotten a kidnapping threat from the military junta in Argentina. Maybe he would have won the World Cup in 1978 but you never know and this had become a what if moments when discussing about Johan Cyruff world cup legacy.
In 1973 he had started his long love with Barcelona as he had transferred from Ajax to Barcelona. With Barcelona he had won the Spanish League Title and Copa Del Rey and endured himself to Catalan as he named his son Jordi a Catalan name. His impact in Barcelona was perfectly written by the New York Times “”Cruyff had done more for the spirit of the Catalan people in 90 minutes than many politicians in years of struggle”. But his moment of player would not match him impact as manager when he had returned to Barcelona as a manager in 1988. First he says to the management that all Barcelona football team must play in the some way from the child to senior team. Making sure that La Masia Barcelona youth academy was producing the player with technical ability and position intelligence. During this time a young player name Pep Guardiola was introduced to team where Cyruff had chosen him due to football intelligence as he perfectly fit the label of Johan Cyruff player. He had assembled a team called as Dream Team . With goalkeepr Andoni Zubizaretta, defense of Ronald Koeman, Albert Ferrer, Eusebio Sacristán,midfield of Pep Guardiola, José Mari Bakero,Michael Laudrup,Julio Salinas, attacker in Hristo Stoichkov,José Ramón Alexanko,Miguel Ángel Nadal the team had won Spanish League 4 consecutive times from 1991 to 1994 , wining the Champion League for the first time in Barcelona history in 1992 after beating Sampdoria in the Wembley Stadium in 1992.His Dream Team was a team that had become benchmark to the current Barcelona team as they are good in technic , attacking , slick ball retention and go out to entertain instead of winning at any cost type of team. He had become the longest serving Barcelona manager and most successful manager with 11 trophies until his record was eclipsed by his protégé Pep Guardiola with 15 trophies.
His legacy of La Masia that was his brainchild had given to the world the player of Andreas Iniesta, Xavi, Gerary Pqiue, Lionel Messi, Pedro , Sergio Busquest and many more that had become the most important player for the club and country. His philosophy of ball possession had become the foundation of the current Spanish and Barceloan team style of play called as Tiki Taka. HIs coaching style had also influenced Frank Rijkaard , Pep Guardiola , Arsene Wender, Michel Laundrup , and also Eric Cantona. His legacy will live on with Barcelona and now Barcelona had come with a plan to change the Camp Nou Stadium to Johan Cyruff Stadium.
Johan Cyruff not only had changed Barcelona, Holland , and Ajax he is only European Player to be in top 4 player of the decade list. He also had given some of the memorable and logic quotes or one liner.
Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.”
There is only one ball, so you need to have it.”
If I wanted you to understand it, I would have explained it better.”
Why couldn’t you beat a richer club? I’ve never seen a bag of money score a goal.”
Every disadvantage has its advantage.”
If I start running slightly earlier than someone else, I seem faster.”
I’m not religious. In Spain, all 22 players make the sign of the cross before they enter the pitch. If it works all matches must therefore end in a draw.”
In my teams, the goalie is the first attacker, and the striker the first defender.”
He is also one small group of former player whom had become a successful coach. He had only make one appearance in the world cup and also had coached only 3 team but he had created a legacy, memory , foundation, brilliant moment, and innovation that long and impactful.
Thanks for all the memories Johan Cyruff. Your legacy will live on forever.