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Johan Cruyff
Gender Male
Born 1947 04 25
Die 2016 03 24
Ethnic Dutch
Job Dutch Footballer
  Dutch Football Coach
Desc a former Dutch footballer and the manager of the Catalan national team as well as a member of the AFC Ajax board of directors. He won the Ballon d’Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974, which is a record jointly held with Michel Platini, Marco van Basten, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. 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 of all time


Org Dutch National Team
Club as Coach Barcelona FC
Club as Player Barcelona FC


|:——————|:————–| | Son | Jordi Cruyff | | Father-in-Law | Cor Coster | | Pupil | Pep Guardiola |

2005 10 01 Retrieve

[In an interview with Lawrence Donegan of The Guardian] 4-5-1? Never. It was always 4-3-3 for me as a player and as manager, just like [Frank] Rijkaard at Barcelona. With 4-3-3, it’s much easier to make combinations going forward. With only one forward, who is he going to pass to? Who is he going to make combinations with? Football is about having the best offensive play possible. I always like to play offensive football and nobody will convince me otherwise

2008 04 Retrieve

[He said that the attempted kidnap (in 1977) was the reason he decided not to go to the 1978 World Cup in Argentina] You should know that I had problems at the end of my career as a player here and I don’t know if you know that someone [put] a rifle at my head and tied me up and tied up my wife in front of the children at our flat in Barcelona. The children were going to school accompanied by the police. The police slept in our house for three or four months. I was going to matches with a bodyguard. All these things change your point of view towards many things. There are moments in life in which there are other values. We wanted to stop this and be a little more sensible. It was the moment to leave football and I couldn’t play in the World Cup after this

2010 07 11 Retrieve

[Cruyff wrote in his weekly column for the Barcelona-based newspaper El Periodico, prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup final match] Who am I supporting? I am Dutch but I support the football that Spain is playing. Spain’s style is the style of Barcelona. Spain, a replica of Barça, is the best publicity for football

2010 07 12 Retrieve

[Criticising the Dutch team’s play in the 2010 World Cup final] Sadly, they played very dirty. This ugly, vulgar, hard, hermetic, hardly eye-catching, hardly football style… If with this they got satisfaction, fine, but they lost

[…] It hurts me that Holland chose an ugly path to aim for the title

2011 04 22 Retrieve

[Cruyff criticises club’s shirt sponsorship deal with Qatar Foundation] We [Barça] are a unique club in the world, no one has kept their jersey intact throughout their history, yet have remained as competitive as they come. […] We have sold this uniqueness for about six percent of our budget. I understand that we are currently losing more than we are earning. However, by selling the shirt it shows me that we are not being creative, and that we have become vulgar

2012 01 Retrieve

[The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football] Every trainer talks about movement, about running a lot. I say don’t run so much. Football is a game you play with your brain. You have to be in the right place at the right moment, not too early, not too late.

[…] There is no medal better than being acclaimed for your style. As a coach, my teams might have won more games if we’d played in a less adventurous way. Maybe I’d have earned a little more and the bonuses would have been bigger, but if people say that Barcelona were playing the nicest football in the world with me as coach, what more can I ask for? If you’re appearing in the World Cup final it may be the biggest occasion of your life, so why be sad and fearful? Be happy, express yourself and play. Make it special for you and for everyone watching. For the good of football, we need a team of invention, attacking ideas and style to emerge. Even if it doesn’t win, it will inspire footballers of all ages everywhere. That is the greatest reward

2012 03 13 Retrieve

[on Michael Laudrup] One of the most difficult players I have worked with. When he gives 80-90% he is still by far the best, but I want 100%, and he rarely does that

2012 03 13b Retrieve

[Johan Cruyff, the legend himself, made the following comment on his Danish attacking midfielder after Laudrup humiliated Barcelona 5-0 with his new team Real Madrid] When Michael plays like a dream, a magic illusion, determined to show his new team his extreme abilities, no one in the world comes anywhere near his level

2012 07 25 Retrieve

[Johan Cruyff once said of Filippo Inzaghi] He can’t actually play football. He just always seems to be in the right place

2013 01 Retrieve

[Reported in Dennis Bergkamp (2013). Stillness and Speed: My Story.] Because you play football with your head, and your legs are there to help you. If you don’t use your head, using your feet won’t be sufficient. Why does a player have to chase the ball? Because he started running too late. You have to pay attention, use your brain and find the right position. If you get to the ball late, it means you chose the wrong position. Bergkamp was never late

2014 01 Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal: The Biography] Van Gaal has a good vision on football. But it’s not mine. He wants to gel winning teams and has a militaristic way of working with his tactics. I don’t. I want individuals to think for themselves and take the decision on the pitch that is best for the situation… I don’t have anything against computers, but you judge football players intuitively and with your heart.

2014 04 25 Retrieve

[They said It: Johan Cruyff] We showed the world you could enjoy being a footballer; you could laugh and have a fantastic time. I represent the era which proved that attractive football was enjoyable and successful, and good fun to play too

Every disadvantage has its advantage

If you can’t win, make sure you don’t lose

2014 07 Retrieve

[on Messi, Suarez, and Neymar] I don’t know how they (Barcelona) plan to play free-flowing attacking football with Messi, Neymar and Suarez in one team. They are all players who rely on their individual actions. In signing him [Suarez], the club are showing a preference for individual genius over a team that plays great football. The style of play they developed under Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola is being abandoned

2014 09 Retrieve

[In an interview with The Guardian’s Donald McRae] Football is now all about money. There are problems with the values within the game. And this is sad because football is the most beautiful game. We can play it in the street. We can play it everywhere. Everyone can play it but those values are being lost. We have to bring them back

2015 01 24 Retrieve

[Johan Cruyff on his career] The president of Ajax wanted to sell me to Real Madrid. I was born shortly after the war, though, and was taught not to just accept anything. Barcelona weren’t at the same level as Madrid football wise, but it was a challenge to play for a Catalan club

2015 10 17 Retrieve

[Dutch legend Johan Cruyff reacts to the Netherlands’ 2-1 win over Kazakhstan in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying. It’s unlikely his mood improved after the following 3-2 defeat to Czech Republic which rubber stamped their failure to progress] It was painful that Robin van Persie, since coming on in the 87th minute, touched the ball once. The comments that Netherlands does not have good young players coming through don’t make sense. It proves that the last World Cup was not properly analysed. People did not wonder how they had gone so far in Brazil. Things were back to normal for most after that somewhat surprising third-place finish. And now they are facing the consequences

2015 11 14 Retrieve

[Former Ajax and Barcelona star who led the Netherlands to the FIFA World Cup™ Final in 1974 Johan Cruyff wrote in his weekly column in Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf while getting treatment for lung cancer] There’s so much happening in football and I love to think and talk about it so much that I end up having very little time to worry. Another reason I don’t worry so much is because of the exceptional quality of care I’ve been getting from the doctors. We’re passed the first round and a new road is opening up

2016 01 Retrieve

[My Turn: The Autobiography] I haven’t always been understood. As a footballer, as coach and also for what I did after all that. But OK, Rembrandt and Van Gogh weren’t understood either. That’s what you learn: people go on bothering you until you’re a genius

[…] That December [1992], we [Barça] lost the Intercontinental Cup match against São Paulo 2-1. It was one of the few times that I had no problems with a defeat. I’ve always admired the Brazilian coach Telê Santana for his vision, because it always displayed a genuine love of football

[…] When it was clear that I was leaving Ajax [in 1973], I was sent all kinds of poisonous messages and lots more of that kind of nonsense. But the worst thing for me was that Ajax gave my mother, who had always done her best for the club, an inferior seat in the stadium. Behind a pole. That absolutely crushed me

[…] I like technical players who can also think in terms of the team’s interests. I’ve already mentioned Iniesta and Xavi, who disprove entirely the theory that only physically strong footballers with a lot of running ability can play in their positions.

2016 02 13 Retrieve

Right now, I have the feeling that I am 2-0 up in the first half of a match that has not finished yet. But I am sure that I will end up winning

2016 02 17 Retrieve

[Lionel Messi congratulates Luis Suarez after the penalty. It has been suggested that Messi orchestrated the unorthodox penalty to pay tribute to Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff, who is currently battling cancer. The Dutchman was famously the first player to pioneer the unique penalty in his Ajax teammate Jesper Olsen in 1982. Cristiano Ronaldo on that Lionel Messi penalty] It made me very happy what Messi did

2016 02 20 Retrieve

[Johan Cruyff on the unorthodox penalty that he made famous during his playing career] The press of the time praised the play. They saw it as genius. And it’s been like that since, so I don’t understand the controversy we saw. Football’s to have fun, not to get into wars or provocations. Football is to have fun and Messi is making it fun for all of us. It made me very content because I share ideas with the players who dare to do these type of things

2016 03 24 Retrieve

[An open letter signed by Barcelona’s eight (living) current and previous presidents] With Cruyff we [Barça] began to play differently, breaking new ground and innovating. With him, both as a player and coach, we established our own style on the field, what is traditionally known as ‘total football,’ the Barça style everyone admires. The arrival of Cruyff altered the history of Barça. He contributed decisively to a change of mentality. He got us to keep our heads up and to see that no opponent was invincible, that we could attain what we were aiming for. Cruyff was an icon who explained, better than anyone, that Barça is more than a club. He did it simply and based in reality, and always moving forward. Without Cruyff’s unabashed and non-conformist spirit, we quite possibly wouldn’t have become the greatest club in the world. So, again, thank you, Johan. Thanks to the man who was admired, thanks to the social icon, thanks to the football superstar

2016 03 24b Retrieve

[Johan Cruyff on timing] There’s only one moment in which you can arrive in time. If you’re not there, you’re either too early or too late

2016 03 24c Retrieve

[Johan Cruyff on jugling] Someone who has juggled the ball in the air during a game, after which four defenders of the opponent get the time to run back, that’s the player people think is great. I say he has to go to a circus

2016 03 24d Retrieve

[Johan Cruyff on Total Football] In my teams, the goalie is the first attacker, and the striker the first defender

2016 03 24e Retrieve

[Johan Cruyff on vision] It’s better to go down with your own vision than with someone else’s

2016 03 26 Retrieve

[on Winning] Quality without results is pointless. Results without quality is boring.

[…] Winning is an important thing, but to have your own style, to have people copy you, to admire you, that is the greatest gift

2016 08 13 Retrieve

[on Van Basten] Marco, the Ballon d’Or? It’s both brilliant and normal at the same time because he’s the best in his position at the moment. Mentally, he’s very a strong. A wall! When people compare the two of us, I say he’s my spiritual son

2016 10 03 Retrieve

[on Pep Guardiola] Barça wanted to get rid of him [Guardiola]. They considered him scrawny, bad defensively and ineffective in the air. What nobody saw was that he had the basic qualities to go far: he had game intelligence, speed in his execution, technique. If I hadn’t been at Barcelona, for sure he would have been sold to a Segunda Division club

2016 10 08 Retrieve

[Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff, who died earlier this year, writing in his recently released autobiography] As a player at Barcelona, they wanted to get rid of Pep [Guardiola] because they thought he was a lanky great beanpole who couldn’t defend, who had no strength and couldn’t do anything in the air. So he was blamed for all the things he wasn’t good at, while I thought they were all things he could learn to do well. What all those people didn’t see was that Guardiola had the fundamental qualities needed at the top level: speed of action, technique, insight

2016 10 13 Retrieve

[Johan Cruyff on Pele] Pele was the only footballer who surpassed the boundaries of logic

2017 05 22 Retrieve

[According to Cruyff, Davy Klaassen shared similarities to the best around, as he wrote in Voetbal International] You must have strong positioning, ability to control the ball at speed and also have the technique to deal with the speed of it. Xavi, Toni Kroos and Davy Klaassen can do it. All three have perfect anticipation and they can play it both left and right excellently. You watch, when Klaassen plays from that position for Ajax, the tempo increases immediately. Moreover, he rarely loses possession

2017 11 09 Retrieve

[Johan Cruyff reflect on his Barcelona’s Player Romario who asks him whether he could have some time off training to go to the Rio Carnival] Laughing, I replied: ‘If you score two goals tomorrow’. The next day Romário scored his second goal 20 minutes into the game and immediately gestured to me asking to leave. He told me, ‘Coach, my plane leaves in an hour!’ I had no choice but to let him go

2018 01 15 Tweet

[Johan Cruyff tells a nice story about Cyrille Regis in his autobiography My Turn. The Dutch legend, then manager of Ajax, wanted to sign Regis to replace Marco van Basten, who was about to leave for Milan] Regis was a physically strong striker with charisma, who was still at the top of his game

2018 01 29 Retrieve

[Johan Cruyff told El Mundo Deportivo in 2012] The best player I ever coached? It was Romario. He was an extraordinary player, with extraordinary technique

2019 04 29 Retrieve

[Ajax have always remained true to their philosophy and have hence nurtured or bought low-profile players who can play simple and selfless football] Why can’t you beat a richer team? I’ve never seen a bag of money score goals

2019 06 03 Retrieve

[Johan Cruyff on football] Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is

2019 08 01 Retrieve

[With speculation already mounting that Johan Cruyff was poised to join influential former coach Rinus Michels at Barcelona, new Ajax coach George Knobel decided to maintain the spirit of democracy at his club by allowing the players to select their captain for the 1973/74 campaign. Those present are unsure of the precise vote distribution, but a stunned Cruyff lost out to Piet Keizer. The result wasn’t even close. According to team-mate Jan Mulder, Cruyff immediately stormed to the nearest phone and instructed his father-in-law (and adviser) Cor Coster] You have to call Barcelona immediately, I’m leaving here

2020 01 24 Retrieve

[possession is non-negotiable, a cornerstone of both his attacking and defensive schemes] It’s a basic concept, when you dominate the ball, you move well. You have what the opposition don’t, and therefore they can’t score

2020 03 24 Retrieve

[Legend finally reveal the truth] You should know that I had problems at the end of my career as a player here and I don’t know if you know that someone [put] a rifle at my head and tied me up and tied up my wife in front of the children at our flat in Barcelona. We wanted to stop this and be a little more sensible. It was the moment to leave football and I couldn’t play in the World Cup after this.

2020 04 17 Retrieve

[on Good footballer] Statistically, football players have the ball at their feet for three minutes on an average. So what they do during the 87 minutes when they don’t have the ball determines whether they are a good player or not

2020 05 08 Retrieve

[The Games That Defined Modern Football: AC Milan 4-0 Barcelona (1994)] Barcelona are favourites. We’re more complete, competitive and experienced than [in the 1992 final] at Wembley. Milan are nothing out of this world. They base their game on defence; we base ours on attack

2020 05 08b Retrieve

[What is tiki-taka? How tactics made famous by Barcelona and Spain work] I think the way Barcelona played, it’s a pleasure for everybody who likes football, because the technical qualities are the highest standard and every little child can try to do the technical qualities. It’s not like somebody runs 100 yards in nine seconds and if you can’t do it, you don’t count. You always count because you can always get better. If you want to play basketball you’ve got to be two metres. Otherwise you can’t play. Here, everyone can play and everyone can develop. That’s the nicest thing about the game of football

2020 05 14 Retrieve

[Sao Paulo triumphed 2-1 but Cruyff wrote in his autobiography afterwards] It was one of the few times that I had no problems with a defeat. I’ve always admired the Brazilian coach Tele Santana for his vision, because it always displayed a genuine love of football

2020 06 22 Retrieve

[Neymar attracts trouble. He always has. As Johan Cruyff said back in 2015] Neymar’s always in the centre of the storm for things outside of football. He needs to play football to improve and develop in many areas. He will only achieve by playing football. The problem is that he is constantly being linked with negative things