Dutch Association footballer, captain of the Dutch team that reached the World Cup final in 1974 and subsequently manager of the Cup-winning Barcelona team.
As a player, Amsterstad-born Johann Cruyff was dedicated to the style of ‘total football’ exemplified by his near contemporary, Germany's Franz Beckenbauer. A centre-forward, Cruyff made his debut for the Ajax first team in 1965 and went on to win eleven Dutch League and Cup medals with the club. In 1967 he was the top goal-scorer in the Dutch league, with a tally of thirty-three. Cruyff then played in the Ajax team that won the European Cup in 1971, 1972, and 1973, being named European Footballer of the Year in both 1971 and 1973. In 1973 he was transferred to Barcelona for a then record fee of £922,000.
Cruyff made his debut for the Dutch national side in 1966, and in 1974 he captained the Dutch team that came runner-up in the World Cup final. In the same year he was named European Footballer of the Year for a third time. Cruyff announced his retirement in 1978 but went on to play for the Los Angeles Aztecs, Feyenoord, and others before accepting a coaching position at Ajax in 1982. As coach, Cruyff helped Ajax win the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1987. Subsequently, as manager of Barcelona, he led this team to victory in the European Cup Winners' Cup (1989), the European Cup (1992), and the Spanish League (1991, 1992, and 1993).
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).