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  • Writer's pictureChristos Davos

Cybet Stories: Johan Cruyff

By cy.Reporter, 24 March, 2022

Like today, six years ago, one of the most important people in the history of football passed away. A man who evolved football both as an athlete and as a coach, as he played and created several of the most successful teams in the history of the sport. CyNews brings to light "moments" from the sports life of the "Flying Dutchman" of World Football, the football player with 14 in the back, Johan Cruyff!


On April 25, 1947, Johan Cruyff, or as his full name is, Hendrik Johannes Cruyff, was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Johann was born in the Betonthrop district, with a low-income family, Cruyff's father working as a greengrocer and his mother as a cleaner at the Ajax stadium. However, the father's occupation and the mother's job at the Aiada stadium would determine the future and the course of their son's life.


Johan Cruyff's first experience with Ajax was just five years old. His father took him with him when he took a basket of fruit to the team's footballers, while his mother took him with her several times when she cleaned the team's stadium after games. Thus, in 1959 and at the age of 12 he joined the academies of the club. However, this year was not only positive for the Cruyff family, as his father passed away, forcing him to drop out of school and work as a part-time employee in a nearby mall. At the same time, he was involved in both football and baseball, but his success with the Ajax Youth team led him to follow only the football field, with the result that at the age of 16 he signed his first professional contract with Ajax.


In 1964, at the suggestion of English coach Vic Buckingham, he made his debut with the jersey of the first team of Ajax and in his debut he scored the only goal of Ajax in the 3-1 defeat by Groningen. However, in his first season with the Ajax colors, the Amsterdam team had the worst season in its history, finishing 13th in the standings and Johan Cruyff finishing the season with four goals in 10 games.


Next season, the technical leadership of Ajax will be taken over by Rinus Michels. Everything in the team changes. Strict discipline and professionalism enter the daily life of the team and the life of Johan Cruyff. The young Dutchman was quite thin and barely reached 60 kg. However, with the right exercises and a strict schedule, he is having a great season and helping Ajax to win the Dutch championship. In the 1966-67 season, he emerged as the best football player in the country and with 33 goals led his team to the top.


At that time, Rinus Michels's team was creating innovative ideas, as when Ajax attacked, all the players spread out on the field and thus created spaces and "spread" the team's game. On the contrary, when they lost the ball, they pushed the opponent high enough and this resulted in them reducing the playing field with the pressure high. "When you have the ball you have to make the pitch as big as possible and when you do not have it as small as possible," said Johan Cruyff. In addition, they were the first team to play artificial offside. Thus, in these unique - for the data of the time - ideas, Cruyff took on a unique role in the history of football. He played in virtually all positions of attack, from the top, on the wings, making him the main spokesman for the whole football that Ajax played.


Η συνέχεια για τον Άγιαξ και τον Γιόχαν Κρόιφ ήταν η κατάκτηση του κυπέλλου πρωταθλητριών, αλλά και του Διηπειρωτικού κυπέλλου, με αποτέλεσμα το 1973 να αναδειχθεί ως ο καλύτερος Ευρωπαίος ποδοσφαιριστής κατακτώντας τη χρυσή μπάλα. Στο τέλος της σεζόν ο Γιόχαν Κρόιφ άφησε τον Άγιαξ, έχοντας κερδίσει συνολικά 16 τίτλους, έξι εθνικά πρωταθλήματα, τέσσερα Κύπελλα, δύο Σούπερ Κύπελλα Ευρώπης, τρία συνεχόμενα Κύπελλα Πρωταθλητριών Ευρώπης, ένα Διηπειρωτικό Κύπελλο.

Johan Cruyff wore the Barcelona jersey and was reunited with Rinus Michels. The Catalans spent around 2.5 million euros on the transfer, a record amount for the season and in combination with Cruyff himself's desire to continue his career in Barcelona, ​​as it is said that due to political reasons he did not want to play for Real Madrid, it was done. resident of Catalonia. From his first year in Barcelona, ​​he led the team to the championship after 14 years, while he fell in love and quickly fell in love with the team and the city, so he named his son Jordi, naming him after the wealthy Barcelona Saint Georgiou. He was again named the best footballer of the year in Europe and wore the Blaugrana jersey for the next five years, scoring 85 goals and helping Barcelona win a league and a cup. Most important, however, was the know-how he gave to the Barcelona club about total football, something that was adopted by the club and is now a "piece" of the team's DNA.


Summer 1978. Johan Cruyff decides to end his career. At the age of 31, the "Flying Dutchman" announces that football is over for him. Thus, on May 7, a friendly match between Ajax and Bayern Munich was organized in honor of the Dutchman, but the Germans only did not show a friendly mood, as the final 8-0 over Ajax was the biggest defeat in the career of Johan Cruyff. In fact, it is said that the referee had canceled three goals which were normal, in order to keep the score at single digits. The match between the two teams from previous matches, but also the reception of the Dutch against the Germans was not the best and all this may have led the Germans to this "answer" in the field.


However, two years later he returned to active action, playing in the USA with the jerseys of the Los Angeles Aztecs and the Washington Diplomats, while from 1981 to 1984 he returned to Europe and wore the jerseys of Levante Ajax and Feyenoord. The reason for Johan Cruyff's return to the stadiums was - as it is said - for financial reasons, as he also had problems with the Spanish tax authorities, as a result of which he was forced to return to active action.


Johan Cruyff could not leave football, which was his great love. So, he returned to the field as a coach and of course he could not be absent from the benches of both Ajax and Barcelona. His philosophy was attacking football, something that inspired and continues to inspire today's great coaches, such as Luis Enrique, Roberto Martinez, Arsene Wenger and of course Pep Guardiola. In fact, the Catalan coach surpassed Johan Cruyff in winning trophies on the Blaugrana bench.


However, the "Flying Dutchman" had an eternal opponent, as smoking was one of his great passions. He smoked continuously until 1991, when he had to undergo double heart surgery. However, on March 24, 2016, at the age of 68, he breathed his last after an 18-month battle with lung cancer. The leading French newspaper L’Equipe said goodbye to the great man of football with the headline "It was football itself".


Johan Cruyff, took the "step above" of football and actually helped in the development of the sport itself. He created his own school of thought and action and way of exercising in the most widespread sport in the world. He was a pioneer in the way the footballers played regularly, he was the first to change the number on his jersey by adopting the number 14 - a number worn only by the substitutes -, giving a new "breath" to the sport. He tried to change the way of thinking of the footballers and as he himself said. "Playing football is very simple, playing simple football is the most difficult thing".


Research, writing, editing: Christos Davos (cyNews sports editor)

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