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Johan Cruyff

johan_cruyffHendrik Johannes Cruijff, (born 25 April 1947 in Amsterdam), known as Johan Cruyff, is a former Dutch footballer and was until recently the manager of the Catalonia football team. He won the Ballon d’Or three times, in 1971,1973 and 1974, which was a record jointly held with Michel Platini, Marco van Basten and Lionel Messi until Messi won his 4th award in 2012. 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. He led the Dutch national team to the final of the 1974 FIFA World Cup and received the World Cup Golden Ball as player of the tournament.

At club level, Cruyff started his career at Ajax where he won eight Eredivisie titles and three European Cups. In 1973 he moved to FC Barcelona, winning La Liga in his first season and was named European Footballer of the Year. After his retirement from playing in 1984, Cruyff became highly successful as manager of Ajax and later FC Barcelona; he remains an influential advisor to both clubs. His son Jordi has also gone on to play football professionally.

In 1999, Cruyff 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. 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 FIFA Dream Team of the history of World Cups, and in 2004 was named as one of the Top 125 greatest living footballers as part of FIFA’s 100th anniversary celebration.


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