Known as the father of Modern football Johan Cruyff was an icon in the sport but how did it begin?
How Did It Begin?
Cruyff was always near football with him living 5 minutes away from the Ajax stadium, the De Meer stadium, he had humble beginnings as his family was from the working class. He actually wasn’t interested in football but after convincing by his coaches he joined the Ajax academy at 10 and the rest is history.
Johan made scoring debuts for both club and country. Making his club debut in November 1964 in a 3-1 defeat against GVAV, as he scored Ajax’s solitary goal. He made his international debut on 7th September 1966 against Hungary in a European qualifier match. He scored the second goal in the 2:2 draw, the youngster was already showing signs of being the star he would soon become.
Johan Cruyff’s rise to fame came in the 1965/66 season when he lead Ajax to an Eredivisie title to which he contributed 25 goals in 23 games. The following season he lead Ajax to a domestic double becoming the league’s top scorer season with 33 goals.
Johan Cruyff and The Golden Years
This would lead to the Golden years of Ajax which Cruyff played a massive part in. Cruyff inspired Ajax went on to win three successive European cups between 1971 and 1973, this would attract interest from Europe’s biggest clubs.
Johan Cruyff moved to Barcelona for what was a record 6 million euros, at the time it was a move that shook the Footballing world. It was also one that footballing fans knew was going to cause a seismic shift in success for the team. During his time in Catalan, Johan won Barcelona their first league title in 50 years, a Copa del Rey, and four Copa de Espanas. Johan would contribute 48 goals in 143 games during his time at Barcelona, he would make the Barcelona faithful love him by naming his son Jordi a Spanish name. A true club and soon to be a footballing legend.
Johan Cruyff would reach the pinnacle of world football when he would win the Balondor in 1971, a feat he would do two more times in 1973 and 1974 which would cement him in the legend of World Football. The Balondor is a trophy given out every year to celebrate the world’s best footballer and Cruyff was the definition of that for a long period of time.
One of the many highlights of a footballer’s career can be getting called up to their national team, and Cruyff had the great pleasure of playing for the Netherlands National Team, in which he scored 33 goals in 48 games. Even reaching the World Cup final in 1974, losing out to West Germany as they were known at the time, he was a national hero in every aspect of the word. Cruyff would retire from international football in 1976 after helping the Netherlands qualify for the 1976 World cup.
Management And Retirement
As with many Footballing Legends they turn to Management after they retire, Johan Cruyff was the same, he managed Barcelona and Ajax. Johan was Barcelona’s most successful manager winning four Spanish Leagues and their first champions league in the club’s history. He also won two Dutch League Cups and two European Cups with Ajax.
Johan Cruyff retired in 1984 after playing one season for Ajax’s rivals Feyenoord a move that didn’t sit well with the Ajax fans. Cruyff was a footballing legend and someone who revolutionized football in so many ways. You can see in the way Ajax produce young players now and the way they play, that Cruyff has left a lasting impact.
AFC Ajax renamed their stadium the Johan Cruyff Stadium after his death in 2016. Johan left a footballing legacy that not many have replicated after him and not many will again, he was a legend and will be remembered and talked about for years to come. Teams like Ajax, Barcelona, and more use Cruyff’s management style and history when scouting young talent by bringing them through the academy system. Ajax and Barcelona are two clubs where Cruyff left a lasting impact and will for the years to come. Johan Cruyff, Hero, Footballer, Legend.