Born in Amsterdam in the Netherlands on 25 April, 1947, Johan Cruyff played for Ajax (1964-1973), FC Barcelona (1973-1978, 231 games, 86 goals), New York Cosmos (1978), Los Angeles Aztecs (1979), Washington Diplomats (1980), Levante (1980-1981), Washington Diplomats (1981), Ajax (1981-1983) and Feyenoord (1983-1984). He coached Ajax (1985-1988) and FC Barcelona (1988-1996).
Considered one of the best players of all time, in his era, the 1970s, he was seen as the number one in the world. At the age of 18 he was already a Dutch international and at 19 he won the first of six league titles with Ajax and he would go on to add three European Cups with the Dutch club.
As captain of the Netherlands he was a vital figure in their famous 'total football' approach and he was a runner-up in the World Cup in 1974 in West Germany with the national side. His immense quality saw him win worldwide recognition and he won the Ballon d'Or award three times (1971, 1973 and 1974).
The Dutchman signed for FC Barcelona in August 1973 following lengthy negotiations with his former club Ajax. In his first season, Cruyff exploded onto the scene; using his technical brilliance and intelligence to help Barça win the league in 1973-74 – the first time in 14 years.In the eyes of the fans, they will always remember many images of the goal he scored against Athletico Madrid in Camp Nou and the famous 0-5 victory over Madrid in the Bernabeu in 1974, which will go down in history. In the following seasons Barça were able only to win the Copa del Rey in 1977-78.
In 1988, he returned to the club as coach and put into motion the best era in the history of the club: winning 4 league titles among other and winning the European cup for the first time at Wembley in 1992 with the ‘Dream Team’. Cruyff then left the club in 1996 after disagreements with president Josep Lluís Núñez. The Dutchman is considered one of the most important figures in the Club's history. In 1999 he was chosen as best player of the century in Europe and in September 2006 he was awarded the cross of Saint Jordi from the Government of Catalonia. From November 2009 to January of 2013 he was also coach of the Catalan national team.
Cruyff died on 24 March 2016 after losing his battle with lung cancer. Posthumously, the Spanish Government awarded him the Gold Medal of Royal Sporting Merit. Also posthumously, on 18 April he was given the Laureus Award for the spirit of sport. On 1 July 2016, the Barcelona City Council awarded him the Gold Medla for Sporting Merit whoich was collected by his family on 10 November at the Saló de Cent at the City Council in Barcelona.
On 26 August 2019 a bronze statue of Johan Curyff was unveiled outside the ground at Camp Nou, the work of Dutch artist Corry Ammerlaan van Niekerk. On its pedastal can be read his famous phrase: 'Go out and have fun'.
The following day the Estadi Johan Cruyff in Sant Joan Despí was opened as the home for matches for the Barça B, Barça Women and Barça U19 teams.
Honours FC Barcelona
As a player: La Liga (1973-74) Copa del Rey (1977-78)
As coach: European Cup (1991-92), UEFA Super Cup (1992), 4 leagues (1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94), European Cup Winners' Cup (1988-89), Copa del Rey (1989-90), 3 Spanish Super Cups (1991,1992 and 1994) 2 Copas de la Generalitat (1990-91 and 1992-93).
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