Johan Cruyff 65
Today the undisputed best Dutch footballer of all time Johan Cruyff reaches the age of 65. Congratulations to him. To celebrate his career I have picked one goal that encapsulates his class as well as his secret: picking the best, and for most the improbable, option and being able to execute it. He was always one thought and move ahead of his opponent.
This made his live off the pitch difficult as well as most people could hardly grasp what he was getting at and he never compromised. Those who doubted him, automatically became his enemies, while those who followed him also worshipped him. Besides his wife, few people dared to start a discussion, let alone critizice him as they feared to get the cold shoulder. Cruyff’s entourage therefore has become a group of yes-men, who defend him at all costs in the media. Everyone who comes in their way is shoved aside.
As a player Johan Cruyff will be in anyone’s top 10 of best players in history, although his pedigree is disappointing. The EC-final of 1973 was his last European club match of any note, while his only World Cup started with a bang but ended in disappointment, not to mention the horrible EC 76 performance of the Dutch. He ended his career in 1978, then travelled around to play in the suburbs of the international scene (LA Aztecs, Washington, Levante, then Ajax and Feyenoord in an ailing Eredivisie). If he’d been more loyal to the cause of the Dutch team, he might have played at three more World Cups. Imagine a young Dutch team playing in Mexico 1970! However, the Dutch FA were too bigheaded in those days to believe in the idea of international fame.