RIP Johan Cruyff
For Dutch soccer players and fans, the lion is the symbol on their national team jersey crest. However, most would agree Johan Cruyff is the true icon of Dutch soccer.
The Dutch footballing legend passed away today at the age of 68 in Barcelona, his adoptive city where he paved the way for the club’s sustained greatness.
“Cruyff, who made his name as a forward with Ajax and Barcelona, was European footballer of the year three times.
He won three consecutive European Cups with Ajax from 1971, coached Barcelona to their first European Cup triumph in 1992 and helped the Dutch reach the 1974 World Cup final, where they lost 2-1 to West Germany.”
Cruyff’s wisdom on the sport was equal to his talent on the pitch and sideline.
“Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.”
In the soccer world, March 24, 2016 will be remembered as a very sad day. Johan Cruyff was a genuine living legend, influential as a player, coach and mentor. His innovative style of play, aptly defined as “total football,” introduced and revolutionized the theory focused on the fluidity of players on the pitch.
In other words, a central midfielder was not limited to a role in the middle and a winger was not restricted to just the outside. The position players (not the goalie) were interchangeable. When executed properly, there are few (if any) teams that can counter this approach.
“Total football” is a world-class strategy.
And world-class is the right way to describe Johan Cruyff’s legacy.
Cruyff’s tactical prowess has and continues to influence the massively successful and astronomically in-demand managerial services of Pep Guardiola (Barcelona, Bayern Munich). Plus, the academies at Ajax and Barcelona continue to instill his style and wisdom.
Speaking of style and wisdom, watch his take on the Dutch national team from back in 2008.
That’s what total knowledge of soccer looks and sounds like.