Hendrik Johannes CruijffLegendary Netherlands Footballer
- Date of Birth
- April 25, 1947
- Place of Birth
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
- Playing Position
- Attacking midfielder / Forward
Hendrik Johannes Cruijff OON (Dutch: [ˈjoːɦɑn ˈkrœy̆f]), born 25 April 1947), known as Johan Cruyff, is a former Dutch footballer and was until recently the manager of the Catalonia football team. He won the Ballon d’Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974, a record jointly held with French playmaker Michel Platini and Dutch compatriot Marco van Basten.
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. He led the Netherlands national team 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 and three European Cups. 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 remains an influential advisor to both clubs. His son Jordi has also gone on to play football professionally.
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. He came third in a vote organised by the French magazine France Football consulting their former Ballon d’Or winners to elect their Football Player of the Century. He was chosen on the World Team of the 20th Century in 1998, the FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2002, and in 2004 was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.
Considered as one of the most influential figures in football history, Cruyff’s style of play and his football philosophy has had considerable influence on many notable managers and players such as Frank Rijkaard, Josep Guardiola, Michael Laudrup, Arsène Wenger, Eric Cantona and Xavi. Ajax and Barcelona are among the clubs that have developed their youth academies on Cruyff’s coaching methods. His coaching philosophy helped lay the foundations for the revival of Ajax’s international successes in the 1990s. Spanish football’s successes at both club and international level during the years of 2008 to 2012 have been said by many as the verification of Cruyff’s impact on contemporary football.