His immense quality saw him win worldwide recognition and he won the Golden ball 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. Cruyff left the club in 1978.
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.
He received two tributes at Camp Nou, the first when he left as a player on 27 May, 1978 and the second with the 'Dream Team' that he coached on 10 March 1999.
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.
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.