Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Featured Autograph - Johan Cruyff

Johan Hendrikus Cruijff

Born: 25th April 1947 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Position: Forward, Attacking Midfielder
Caps: 48 (33 goals)
Clubs: Ajax, FC Barcelona, Los Angeles Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Levante, Feyenoord 

As a manager: Ajax and Barcelona

1x Intercontinental Cup (1972) 
3x European Cup (1971, 1972, 1973)
2x European Super Cup (1972, 1973) 
8x Dutch Championship (1966, '67, '68, '70, '72, '73, '82, '83)
4x Dutch Cup (1967, 1971, 1972, 1983)

1x Spanish Championship (1974) 
1x Spanish Cup (1978)

1x Dutch Championship (1984)
1x Dutch Cup (1984) 

As a manager Johan Cruyff won the European Cup (1992), the European Cup Winners Cup (1989), four Spanish Championships (1991, '92, '93, '94), and the Spanish Cup (1992) with Barcelona, and the European Cup Winners Cup (1987) and two Dutch Cups (1986, 1987) with 

3x European Footballer of the Year (1971, 1973, 1974)
1x IFFHS European Player of the Century

Johan Cruyff, or Cruijff as the name is actually spelt, was the star of the exciting 1974 Dutch "Total Football" World Cup team and the Ajax Amsterdam team that won a hat-trick of European Cups in the early Seventies. Three times European footballer of the year, Cruyff was the most gifted European player of his generation, and probably of all time.

His supreme technical skills, speed and acceleration, and his tactical insights made Cruyff virtually impossible to defend against. Wearing his trademark Number 14 jersey, he usually played the centre forward position, but would often drop deep or move to the wing to confuse and draw out his markers. The tremendous tactical insight he had displayed as a player, enabled Cruyff to go on to become a world class coach after hanging up his boots in 1984.

Building on the legacy of his mentor Rinus Michels, Cruyff proved himself the most unrelenting apostle of attacking football in the history of the game. Possession of the ball played a crucial part in his football philosophy. Cruyff abhorred the overly physical game that was dominant in the 1980's. He instructed his players not to go running mindlessly up and down the pitch, but to concentrate on combination play and let the ball do the work instead.

He began his coaching career at Ajax, but it was at Barcelona that his revolutionary vision of a free flowing attacking style of football came to real fruition when he assembled a team that included Michael Laudrup, Hristo Stoichkov, Ronald Koeman and Josep Guardiola. Fondly remembered by Catalonians as the 'Dream Team', they succeeded in winning a host of domestic trophies as well as the 1992 European Cup.

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