Born: 25 April, 1947. Amsterdam, Netherlands

International Caps:    48
International Goals :   33 
Teams :   Ajax, Barcelona, Los Angeles Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Levante, Feyenoord 
Team Honours :  World Club Championship  1972
European Cup :    1971, 72, 73
Dutch Championship :    1966, 67, 68, 72, 73, 82, 84
Dutch Cup :    1967, 70, 71, 72, 83
Spanish Championship :    1974
Spanish Cup :  1978 
Individual Honours :    European Footballer of the Year  1971, 73, 74 

If Holland were the team that gave the world Total Football, then Johan Cruyff  was  THE Total Footballer.
Cruyff  was  one  of  a  number of  youngsters who emerged with Ajax of Amsterdam in the late  Sixties and came to dominate European and world football in the early Seventies.
Cruyff  was  the  most  outstanding  of  them  all  and  was  seen  by  many  as  the  natural  successor  to  Pele  as  the  world's greatest  player.
He won a hat-trick of European Cups with Ajax, the  World Clubs' Cup and was three times  European Footballer of the Year. At their peak, the  Dutch side he captained were the most exciting and talented team in international football, yet, strangely, they never won a major trophy during his reign.

Total  Football  was  not  a  new  idea when  the  Dutch  picked  it  up. It had been around since the  Fifties when it was known as The Whirl. But it was first Ajax then Holland that brought it to prominence.
The  idea  was  to  build  a  team  in  which  all  of  the players had equal levels of technical ability and physical strength. In its execution  it  meant  that  all  the  players  were  capable, at  any  point  in  a  game, of  switching  into  each  other's  roles as circumstances demanded.
Anyone could do anything. Defenders became forwards, forwards became defenders.
Strictly  speaking, Cruyff  played  centre  forward  in  this  system. But he would  drop  deep to confuse his markers or suddenly move to the wing with devastating effect. Once there, according to the reference book  Soccer:  The World Game, " a favourite trick  out  on  the  left-wing  was to drag the ball behind him with his right foot, turn through  180 degrees and accelerate away outside a bemused defender."

No one had seen a centre forward like that before.

Cruyff was born in Amsterdam in 1947 close to the Ajax ground. His mother worked as a cleaner at the club and it was she who persuaded the coaches to admit her son to their youth development system at the age of 12.

It was the English coach  Vic Buckingham  who  recommended that the club sign him on a contract and Cruyff made his senior debut when he was 17. Naturally, he scored. Two years later he was playing for Holland, grabbing the  last-minute equaliser in his first match - a 2-2 draw against Hungary.

Dutch  football, traditionally, had  been  largely  amateur. But  by  the  mid-1960s it  was  beginning  to  make the change to a professional  game. The most influential man in the development of the country's football was Rinus Michels who became manager of Ajax in 1964. Within seven years his team was the best in Europe.
Bill Shankly's Liverpool suffered an early taste of what was to come, losing 5-1 to Ajax in Amsterdam in a European tie. By 1968 Ajax had won a hat-trick of Dutch Championships and the following season reached the final of the European Cup. They lost 4-1 to AC Milan, but were on the brink of achieving greatness.

Cruyff  had  grown  into  a  powerful, long- striding  athlete. He had  wonderful  balance, deadly  speed  and  breathtaking ball control. But  his  greatest  quality  was  vision, based  on  an  acute  sense  of  his  team-mates' positions as an attack unfolded.
The sports writer  David Miller  believed  Cruyff superior to any previous player in his ability to extract the most from others. He dubbed him  "Pythagorus in boots"  for the complexity and precision of his angled passes and wrote : " Few have been able to exact, both physically and mentally, such mesmeric control on a match from one penalty area to another. "

His one fault was a questionable temperament which, at times, threatened to undermine his ability. His outspoken nature often led  him  into  trouble, such as when he was  sent  off  against  Czechoslovakia  in  only  his  second  international  match  and suspended from the Dutch team for a year. Cruyff's team-mates at Ajax included Piet Keizer, Wim Suurbier and  Barry Hulshoff - all of whom were to play in four European Cup Finals. But there was no doubting who was the star among stars.

They reached their second European  Cup Final in 1971. This time their opponents were the Greek  Champions Panathinaikos. Ajax, inspired by Cruyff, won 2-0 and the  Flying Dutchman became the first player from his country to be voted European Footballer of the Year.
It  was  the  first  of  three  successive  triumphs  in  the  European Cup  for Cruyff and  Ajax. Next  Internazionale  and  later  Juventus  were  to  feel the awesome blast of their power in the final of  Europe's premier club competition. 

In that  1971-72 season, Cruyff had been the top scorer in the  European Cup  competition with five  goals and he was also the leading marksman in Holland with 25 League goals. Ajax  had  now  added  Johan Neeskens  and  Rudi Krol  to their galaxy of talent and had won the  World Clubs' Cup, beating the  South  American Champions Independiente 4-1 on aggregate, and  the first European Super Cup with a 6-3 aggregate victory over Glasgow Rangers.

Cruyff  was  voted  European  Footballer  of  the  Year for the second time in  1973, but at the end of the season he left  Ajax  to join  his  former  manager  Rinus Michels who was now in charge at Barcelona. Cruyff  cost a world record £922,300 and would be followed by his Ajax team-mate Neeskens. `
The  Spanish  season  had  already  started  by  the  time  Cruyff  arrived  in Barcelona and the Catalans were struggling down the table. The  effect  of  Cruyff's  influence was extraordinary. They finished as  Champions and their victories included  a  5-0 humiliation of arch-rivals Real away in Madrid.

The  World  Cup of  1974 in West Germany saw a Dutch team, led by Cruyff, at the height of their majestic powers. Nonetheless they had faced difficulties in qualifying. Belgium  had  held  them  to goalless draws at home and away, there were rivalries in the camp - Ajax players did not get on with those from bitter enemies  Feyenoord - and they were mercenary in their demands for huge payments for appearing in the competition.

Still, they had made it to their first world finals since 1938 and a warm-up 4-1 win over Argentina convinced many that it was to be Holland's year.
In  the  final their opponents were  West Germany, playing in front of their own supporters in Munich's Olympic  Stadium. The game was billed as the showdown between the Germans' calculating, clinical efficiency and the imaginative flair of the Dutch. Personified, it was Franz Beckenbauer v Johnan Cruyff.
Bertie Vogts, was chosen to mark Cruyff on the basis that he had once played the Dutchman out of the game in a long ago youth tournament.
Be that as it may, in the opening minute  Holland broke away. There  were  15 consecutive passes before  Cruyff  went  round  Vogts as  if  he  were  invisible. He raced into the box where Hoeness lunged  and  brought  him  down. Penalty. 1-0. The Germans  hadn't  even touched the ball. It was the most amazing start ever to a World Cup Final.
For  half an hour, the  Dutch  did much as they pleased. But  then  Vogts  began  to  shackle  Cruyff and the Germans scored two goals, the first a penalty and the winner from the boot of Gerd Muller.
It was a bitter disappointment for the  Dutch  who  undoubtedly  were  the  most  gifted team in the competition. It was only the second  time  they had been beaten in a run of  24 matches  stretching back three years.
It was also the  first  and only time that Cruyff was to appear in a World Cup final tournament. He had been named European Footballer of the Year for the third time, but he would prematurely retire before the  1978  World  Cup  in  Argentina where Holland were, for a second time, beaten finalists - once again losing to the host nation.

Cruyff had played 48 games for Holland and had scored a record 33 goals.

Having quit to concentrate on business, Cruyff changed his mind in  1979 and joined  Los Angeles Aztecs in the North American Soccer League. Unsurprisingly, he was named that season's most valuable player in the league.
Next stop was  Washington Diplomats  before returning to Europe in  1981 to play for Levante, a  minor  Spanish club, and then rejoining Ajax for a spell which included two more Dutch Championships.

Then  Cruyff  did  the  unthinkable. He left Ajax and joined Feyenoord. It was as if the Pope had become a Jehovah's Witness.

Feyenoord had been Holland's top team. They had become the first  Dutch club to win the  European Cup and the World Clubs' Cup. But they hadn't won a  Championship  for  10  years  and  lived in Ajax's shadow. In 1984, led by Cruyff, they achieved the League and Cup double.

The  next  year  he  was  off  again, back  to  Ajax  for the third time and this time as  coach. It was a unique situation, because Cruyff did not have the necessary examination qualifications required for the job in Europe. He  had  scored  215 League goals in  Holland, but  drew  a  blank  on  coaching  certificates. No  matter, under his direction  Ajax  won  the  1987  European  Cup Winners' Cup, beating Lokomotiv Leipzig 1-0. Shortly afterwards, however, that volatile temperament got the better of him and he walked out in a huff.

Back  at  Barcelona, England's  future  manager  Terry Venables  was  having a disastrous season. He was fired and Cruyff was appointed  to  replace  him. By  the  summer  1989 they had beaten Sampdoria 2-0 to win the European Cup Winners' Cup.
For  Barcelona, however, only one thing mattered. The  stigma  of  being  Spain's  second most famous club after  Real Madrid would only be lifted by winning  the European Cup. It was Cruyff who would deliver the prize. Again the opponents in the 1992 final  were  Sampdoria, this  time  the  winning  margin  only  1-0 and  it  took  extra  time  to  see them off. But Barcelona had achieved their dream. Cruyff was King of Catalonia.
The strain, however, was telling. He  had  undergone  surgery  after  suffering a heart attack and the impatience of Barcelona's bosses meant they were not content with their European victory. They demanded continuous success.
Cruyff added the European Super Cup to the trophy cabinet with a 3-2 aggregate win over Werder Bremen in 1992 and by 1994 Barcelona had won four successive Spanish Championships.

Then it all went sour. Cruyff was in secret negotiations with the Dutch to manage their 1994 World Cup team in the finals in America but he could not agree terms. Then in the 1994-95 season, with an  ageing team, his  Barcelona  were  knocked out of the Spanish Cup at the Nou Camp by Second Division Betis. This was  followed by a 3-2 homedefeat in the League by Atletico Madrid. In six seasons  in  charge, Cruyff's  team - which included stars such as Stoichkov, Romario  and Koeman -  had never lost successive games at the Nou Camp.
The knives were being sharpened. He survived for two more years, but in  1996  with Barcelona out of the running in the Championship for the second consecutive season the Barca bosses felt they  had enough of Cruyff's  autocratic ways. He was sacked in favour of  former  England  manager   Bobby Robson.

His  combined  record, as  player  and  manager, is  probably  second to none. To add to his glories  with Ajax and Feyenoord, he had won 11 trophies in eight years in charge of Barcelona.

Few  great players have become outstanding managers. Cruyff, however, was an innovator. At  Barcelona, most of his training sessions consisted of playing two-touch football, six against four, in an area half the size of the penalty area.

Cruyff explained: " In a small area, the movement is necessarily fast and the passes must be pinpoint. Two of the six play wide and change team whenever the other four gain possession. It is always six with the ball against four trying to retrieve it.

"This possession principle should operate in any area of the normal field of play, so our training is intense and is the basis of our  game. You  can  close  down  space  more  effectively by accurate passing when you have the ball, forcing opponents into certain positions, than you can by man-marking without the ball."

As a passer of genius, Cruyff  also  believes  it  vital that the player receiving the pass should be able to turn away from or past his marker.

" This ability," he says, " is  controlled  not by the receiver but by the passer. The passer can see the field in a way the receiver cannot. If  the  receiver  has  his back to goal, the passer should send the ball to the foot on the side where the receiver should turn, reducing the arc through which he must control the ball to move." These  were  the  techniques  used by Barcelona when they stunned Manchester United 4-0 in a European Champions League match in 1994. 

Another  part  of  the  Cruyff  creed is to make players work on their weaknesses. For example, right-footed  players have more difficulty heading left-to-right than they have with the more instinctive right-to left. That kind of co-ordination could be crucial if the match-winning chance comes on the "wrong" side for a player.

And so, Cruyff  would  spend  long  hours  with  individual  players  striving to help them overcome their inabilities, in this case endless practicing of standing near the far post meeting crosses coming in from the left. Such  individual  skill  classes  are still rare in  British football He goes further. He is adamant that the key stage of a footballer's career comes at 12. " At that age, you know whether or not a boy is going to be a player," says Cruyff. " There  are  fundamental skills, which you have or don't have, which cannot be taught after that age."

As a lad about whom such a decision was made at that age, he should know.

In 1999, Cruijff was voted European Player of the Century in an election held by the IFFHS, and came second, behind Pelé in their World Player of the Century poll.
© 2005-2008. Barrie Spirit Soccer
Johan  Cruyff
On April 18, 2007, Ajax decided to retire the number 14 shirt in honour of Johan Cruijff.
Last name
First name
Hendrik Johannes 
Jopie, Nummer 14,
El Salvador 
Married to
Danny Coster
Chantal, Susila, Jordi  
Favorite trainer
Rinus Michels
Favorite players
Alfredo di Stefano and
Faas Wilkes  
Favorite shirt
Ajax. Is just a little more dynamic than other shirts. Barcelona’s is sometimes hard to make out in the distance, especially when a player walks close to the stands. 
Favorite match
Ajax - Liverpool, the famous fog match (December 7th 1966)
Sport apart from soccer
Spanje, the mountains in winter and the sun in sommer
I eat everything. I love fish, but I also love marrowfat peas with lard or stew. I am very easy 
Spanish red wine 
Nat King Cole. Beatles. Quiet music. Richard Clayderman. 
The Godfather 
Classical. I think Zegna is beautiful. So is Hugo Boss. 
I have been driving Mercedes for years.
family life  
Of my children who, despite the extreme circumstances in which they grew up, as as they are. We are a tight family.
Necessary to succeed. People who take the initiative have the most succes. 
The most important person in my life. Without her I would have made so many mistakes... Not necessarily by your own stupidity, but because you are confronted by so many interests. She keeps me on course. 
More than thirty years in football have resulted in an astonishing amount of championships, cups, prizes and personal awards, both as a trainer and as a player.

14 x National champion
10 x Cup winner
4 x Winner Euro Cup I
2 x Winner, Winners Cup II
1 x  Winner World Cup
2 x  Winner  Europen
       Super Cup
3x Winner National Super      Cup 
The Dutch Supercup
is named after him:
  Honours list 

Knight in the Order of Oranje Nassau
Since 8 juli 1974

Silver medal of the City of Amsterdam
November 1978

Honorary member of the KNVB
28 oktober 1978; presented at Cruijff's retirement November 7th 1978

Mark of honour of the city of Los Angeles
December 1979

Sport and Trade Award Ministerie van WVC
July 1992

Honorary member Ajax
7 April 1999                
Cruijff as a player

Club         Matches    Goals
LA Aztecs

Cruijff as a Coach

1985/86  -  1987/88
1988/89  -  1995/96
364            266
227              85
  27              14
  32              12
  10                2
  44              13
704            392
In practice, it means that  CRUIJFF applies for Holland ,and  CRUYFF  for abroad.