Hendrik Johannes “Johan” Cruijff OON – anglicised to Cruyff; 25 April 1947 – 24 March 2016) was a Dutch professional football player and coach. As a player he won the Ballon d’Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974 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. In the 1970s, Dutch football rose from near obscurity to become a powerhouse in the sport. Cruyff led the Netherlands 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, three European Cups and one Intercontinental Cup. 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 remained an influential advisor to both clubs. His son Jordi also played 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.
“Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.”
RIP Johan Cruyff. (25/04/1947 – 24/03/2016)