Johan Cruyff

Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff
Cruyff a la banqueta del Camp Nou.jpg
Cruyff as coach of the Catalonia team in 2009
Personal information
Full name Hendrik Johannes Cruijff
Date of birth 25 April 1947 (1947-04-25) (age 64)
Place of birth Amsterdam, Netherlands
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Attacking midfielder/Forward
Youth career
1957–1964 Ajax
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1964–1973 Ajax 240 (190)
1973–1978 Barcelona 143 (48)
1979–1980 Los Angeles Aztecs 27 (14)
1980–1981 Washington Diplomats 32 (12)
1981 Levante 10 (2)
1981–1983 Ajax 36 (14)
1983–1984 Feyenoord 33 (11)
Total 520 (291)
National team
1966–1977 Netherlands 48 (33)
Teams managed
1985–1988 Ajax
1988–1996 Barcelona
2009– Catalonia
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Hendrik Johannes Cruijff OON (Dutch: [ˈjoˑɦɑn ˈkrœy̆f] ( listen); born 25 April 1947 in Amsterdam), known as Johan Cruyff, is a retired Dutch footballer and is currently the manager of the Catalan national team as well as a member of the AFC Ajax board of directors.[1] He won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974, which is a record jointly held with Michel Platini and Marco van Basten. 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 of all time.

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.[2] He came third in a vote organised by the French weekly magazine France Football consulting their former Ballon d'Or winners to elect their Football Player of the Century.[3]


Style of play

Through his career, Cruyff became synonymous with the playing style of "Total Football".[4] It is a system where a player who moves out of his position is replaced by another from his team, thus allowing the team to retain their intended organizational structure. In this fluid system, no footballer is fixed in their intended outfield role; anyone can be successively an attacker, a midfielder and a defender. The style was honed by Ajax coach Rinus Michels around the time Cruyff came to prominence.

Cruyff was a playmaker, ammunitions provider and marksman rolled into one, with the ability to time a pass that has hardly "been equalled before or since".[5] Strictly speaking, Cruyff played centre forward in this system. But he would drop deep to confuse his markers or suddenly move to the wing with devastating effect. No one had seen a centre forward like that before. Due to the way Cruyff played his game, he is still referred to as "the total footballer."[6]

Cruyff in 1974.

Cruyff was known for his technical ability, speed, acceleration and dribbling but his greatest quality was vision, based on an acute sense of his team-mates' positions as an attack unfolded. The sports writer David Miller believed Cruyff superior to any previous player in his ability to extract the most from others. He dubbed him "Pythagoras in boots" for the complexity and precision of his angled passes and wrote: "Few have been able to exact, both physically and mentally, such mesmeric control on a match from one penalty area to another."[7]

Cruyff also perfected a move now known as the "Cruyff Turn." To do this move, Cruyff would look to pass or cross the ball. However, instead of kicking it, he would drag the ball behind his planted foot with the inside of his other foot and turn through 180 degrees and accelerate away outside a defender.

Club career

Cruyff played for Ajax, FC Barcelona, Los Angeles Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Levante UD, and Feyenoord during his career.


Cruyff joined Ajax youth system on his 10th birthday. He made his first team debut on 15 November 1964 in the Eredivisie, against GVAV, scoring the only goal for Ajax in a 3–1 defeat. That year Ajax finished in their lowest position since the establishment of professional football, 13th.[8] Cruyff really started to make an impression in the 1965–66 season. Cruyff established himself as a regular first team player after scoring two goals against Door Wilskracht Sterk in the Olympic stadion on 24 October 1965 (in a 2–0 victory). In the seven games that winter he scored eight times and in March 1966, he scored the first three goals in a league game against Telstar (6–2 win). Four days later, in a cup game against Veendam (7–0 win), he scored four goals. In total that season, Cruyff scored 25 goals in 23 games, and Ajax won the league championship.

In the 1966–67 season, Ajax again won the league championship, but also won the KNVB Cup, for Cruyff's first "double." Cruyff ended the season as the leading goalscorer in the Eredivisie with 33.

Cruyff won the league for the third successive year in the 1967–68 season. He was also named Dutch footballer of the year for the second successive time, a feat he would repeat in 1969. On 28 May 1969, Cruyff played in his first European Cup final against Milan, but the Italian team ended up winning 4–1.

In the 1969–70 season, Cruyff won his second league and cup "double," but at the beginning of the 1970–71 season, Cruyff suffered a long-term groin injury. He made his comeback on 30 October 1970 against PSV. In this game, he did not wear his usual number 9, which was in use by Gerrie Mühren, but instead used number 14. Ajax won 1–0. Although it was very uncommon in those days for the starters of a game not to play with numbers 1 to 11, from that moment onwards, Cruyff's number was 14, even using the number with the Dutch national team.[9] There has even been a documentary on Cruyff titled Nummer 14 Johan Cruyff[10] and in his native Holland there is a magazine by Voetbal International titled "Nummer 14".[11]

In a league game against AZ '67 on 29 November 1970, Cruyff scored no less than six goals in an 8–1 victory. After winning a replayed KNVB Cup final against Sparta Rotterdam by a score of 2–1, Ajax won in Europe for the first time. On 2 June 1971, in London, Ajax won the European Cup by defeating Panathinaikos 2–0. In spite of speculation that Cruyff would move to another club (Feyenoord and Barcelona were interested) on 12 July 1971, he signed a seven-year contract at Ajax. At the end of the season, he became not only the Dutch, but also the European Footballer of the Year for 1971.

1972 was a particular successful year for Ajax and Cruyff. Ajax won a second European Cup, beating Internazionale 2–0 in the final, with Cruyff scoring both goals. This victory prompted Dutch newspapers to announce the demise of the Italian style of defensive football in the face of Total Football. Soccer: The Ultimate Encyclopaedia says: "Single-handed, Cruyff not only pulled Internazionale of Italy apart in the 1972 European Cup Final, but scored both goals in Ajax's 2–0 win." Cruyff also scored in the 3–2 victory over ADO Den Haag in the KNVB Cup final. In the league, Cruyff was the top scorer with 25 goals as Ajax became champions. In the autumn, Ajax won the Intercontinental Cup, beating Argentina's Independiente (1–1 and 3–0) and then in January 1973, they won the European Super Cup by beating Rangers 3–1 away and 3–2 in Amsterdam. Curiously, Cruyff's only own goal came on 20 August 1972 against FC Amsterdam. A week later, against Go Ahead Eagles (6–0), Cruyff scored four times for Ajax. The 1972–73 season was concluded with the another league championship victory and a third successive Europe Cup (Ajax — Juventus 1–0).

In the summer of 1973, Cruyff was sold to Barcelona for 60 million guilder (approx. US$ 20 million, c. 1973). On 19 August 1973, he played his last match for Ajax (Ajax — Amsterdam 6–1), the 2nd match of the 1973–74 season.


At Barcelona, Cruyff quickly won over the Barça fans when he told the European press he chose Barça over Real Madrid because he could not play for a club associated with the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.[citation needed] He further endeared himself when he chose a Catalan name Jordi for his son. He helped the club win La Liga for the first time since 1960, along the way defeating Real Madrid 5–0 at their home of Bernabéu. He was also crowned European Footballer of the Year.

During his time at Barcelona, Cruyff scored one of his most famous goals, The 'Phantom' Goal.[12] In a game against Atlético Madrid, Cruyff leapt into the air, twisted his body so he was facing away from the goal, and kicked the ball past Miguel Reina in the Atlético Madrid goal with his right heel (the ball was at about neck height and had already travelled wide of the far post). The goal was featured in the documentary En un momento dado, in which fans of Cruyff attempted to recreate that moment. The goal has been dubbed Le but impossible de Cruyff (Cruyff's impossible goal).[citation needed]

Note that Cruyff played two games with Paris Saint-Germain in 1975 during the Paris tournament. He had only agreed because he was a fan of designer Daniel Hechter, who was then president of PSG.[13]

United States

At the age of 32, he signed a lucrative deal with the Los Angeles Aztecs of the North American Soccer League (NASL). He had previously been rumored to be joining the New York Cosmos but the deal did not materialize. However, he did play exhibition games for the Cosmos. He stayed at the Aztecs for only one season, but was voted NASL Player of the Year in that time. The following season, he moved to play for the Washington Diplomats. He played the whole 1980 campaign for the Diplomats, even as the team was facing dire financial trouble at the time. In May 1981, Cruyff played as a guest player for Milan in a tournament, but was injured. As a result, he missed the beginning of the 1981 NASL soccer season thereafter, which ultimately led to Cruyff choosing to leave the team.


In January 1981, Cruyff played three friendly matches for FC Dordrecht. Also in January 1981, manager Jock Wallace of English club Leicester City made an audacious attempt to sign Cruyff. Despite negotiations lasting three weeks, in which Cruyff expressed his desire to play for the club, a deal could not be reached as he instead chose to sign with Spanish Segunda Division side Levante.[14] In March 1981, Cruyff took the field for the first time for Levante. Injuries and disagreements with the administration of the club would blight his spell in the Segunda Division, as he was only able to amount 10 appearances after his signing, scoring two goals. Having failed to secure promotion to the first division, Levante did not keep the financial agreements that were specified in Cruyff's contract.

Back in the Netherlands

Johan Cruijff with fans in 1982

After his spell in the USA and a short-lived stay at UD Levante in Spain, Cruyff returned to play in his homeland, rejoining Ajax on 30 November 1980 as "technical advisor" of trainer Leo Beenhakker, Ajax being 8th in the ranking of the table of the Dutch League then after 13 games. Ajax would finish 2nd in 1980–81 in June 1981 after 34 games. In December 1981, Cruyff signed a new contract as player for Ajax. His already since November 1980 expected return was on 6 December 1981 against Haarlem (4–1 home win), Cruyff scored the first goal. In the 1981–82 and 1982–83 seasons, Ajax, along with Cruyff, became league champions. In the 1982–83 season, Ajax also won the Dutch Cup (KNVB-Beker). One notable incident from this era was a famous goal he scored against Helmond Sport in 1982 while playing for Ajax. Cruyff scored a penalty the same way Rik Coppens had already done it 25 years earlier.[15][16][17] He put the ball down as for a routine penalty kick, but instead of shooting at goal, Cruyff nudged the ball sideways to his Ajax teammate Jesper Olsen who in return passed it back to Cruyff who tapped the ball into the empty net, as Otto Versfeld, the bemused Helmond goalkeeper, looked on.


At the end of the 1982–83 season, Ajax decided not to offer Cruyff a new contract. This angered Cruyff, who responded by signing for Ajax's archrivals Feyenoord.[18] Cruyff's season at Feyenoord was a successful one in which the club won the Eredivisie for the first time in a decade, part of a league and KNVB Cup double. He ended his Eredivisie playing career on May 13, 1984 with a goal against PEC Zwolle. In his last season as a player, he was voted footballer of the year. Cruyff played his last game in Saudi Arabia, bringing Feyenoord back into the game with a goal and an assist.[19]

International career

Cruyff (left) with Roberto Perfumo at the 1974 World Cup
The 1974 Dutch national team with Cruijff on the far right
Cruyff getting through the box line during the 1974 World Cup Final, right before he was fouled for a penalty.

As a Dutch international, Cruyff played 48 matches, scoring 33 goals. The national team never lost a match in which Cruyff scored. In his second Dutch national team match, a friendly against Czechoslovakia, Cruyff was the first Dutch international to receive a red card. He received a one-year suspension from the Royal Dutch Football Association.

Accusations of Cruyff's "aloofness" were not rebuffed by his habit of wearing a shirt with only two black stripes along the sleeves, as opposed to Adidas' usual design feature of three, worn by all the other Dutch players. Cruyff, however, had a separate sponsorship deal with Puma.[citation needed]

Cruyff led the Netherlands to a runners-up medal in the 1974 World Cup and was named the player of the tournament. Thanks to his team's mastery of Total Football, they coasted all the way to the final, knocking out Argentina (4–0), East Germany (2–0), and Brazil (2–0) along the way. Cruyff himself scored twice against Argentina in one of his team's most dominating performances, then he scored the second goal against Brazil to knock out the defending champions. The Netherlands faced hosts West Germany in the final. Cruyff kicked off and the ball was passed around the Oranje team 13 times before returning to Cruyff, who then went on a rush that eluded Berti Vogts and ended when he was fouled by Uli Hoeneß inside the box. Teammate Johan Neeskens scored from the spot kick to give the Netherlands a 1–0 lead, and the Germans had not even touched the ball. Only during the latter half of the final was his playmaking influence stifled by the effective marking of Berti Vogts, while Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeneß, and Wolfgang Overath dominated the midfield, enabling West Germany to win 2–1.[20] Cruyff received a yellow card during half time for talking to the referee.

Cruyff retired from international football in October 1977, having helped the national team qualify for the upcoming World Cup. Without him, the Netherlands finished runners-up in the World Cup again. Initially the reason given for missing the 1978 World Cup were political reasons given a military dictatorship was in power in Argentina at that time. In 2008, however, Cruyff stated to the journalist Antoni Bassas in Catalunya Ràdio that he and his family were involved in a kidnap attempt in Barcelona a year before the tournament, and that this had caused his retirement. "To play a World Cup you have to be 200% okay, there are moments when there are other values in life."[21]

International goals

Scores and results table. Netherlands's goal tally first:
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 7 September 1966 Rotterdam, Netherlands  Hungary 2–0 2–2 UEFA Euro 1968 qualifying
2. 13 September 1967 Amsterdam, Netherlands  East Germany 1–0 1–0
3. 26 March 1969 Rotterdam, Netherlands  Luxembourg 1–0 4–0 FIFA World Cup 1970 qualifying
4. 2 December 1970 Amsterdam, Netherlands  Romania 1–0 2–0 Friendly
5. 2–0
6. 24 February 1971 Rotterdam, Netherlands  Luxembourg 3–0 6–0 UEFA Euro 1972 qualifying
7. 4–0
8. 17 November 1971 Eindhoven, Netherlands  Luxembourg 1–0 8–0
9. 8–0
10. 7–0
11. 1 December 1971 Amsterdam, Netherlands  Scotland 1–0 2–1 Friendly
12. 16 February 1972 Athens, Greece  Greece 3–0 5–0
13. 5–0
14. 30 August 1972 Prague, Czechoslovakia  Czechoslovakia 1–0 2–1
15. 1 November 1972 Rotterdam, Netherlands  Norway 4–0 9–0 FIFA World Cup 1974 qualifying
16. 8–0
17. 2 May 1973 Amsterdam, Netherlands  Spain 3–2 3–2 Friendly
18. 22 August 1973  Iceland 2–0 5–0 FIFA World Cup 1974 qualifying
19. 5–0
20. 29 August 1973 Deventer, Netherlands 2–0 8–1
21. 4–0
22. 12 September 1973 Oslo, Norway  Norway 1–0 2–1
23. 26 June 1974 Gelsenkirchen, Germany  Argentina 1–0 4–0 FIFA World Cup 1974
24. 4–0
25. 3 July 1974 Dortmund, Germany  Brazil 2–0 2–0
26. 4 September 1974 Stockholm, Sweden  Sweden 1–0 5–1 Friendly
27. 25 September 1974 Helsinki, Finland  Finland 1–1 3–1 UEFA Euro 1976 qualifying
28. 2–1
29. 20 November 1974 Rotterdam, Netherlands  Italy 2–1 3–1
30. 3–1
31. 22 May 1976 Brussel, Belgium  Belgium 2–1 2–1
32. 13 October 1976 Rotterdam, Netherlands  Northern Ireland 2–1 2–2 FIFA World Cup 1978 qualifying
33. 26 March 1977 Antwerpen, Belgium  Belgium 2–0 2–0

Managerial career


After retiring from playing, Cruyff followed in the footsteps of his mentor Rinus Michels, coaching a young Ajax side to victory in the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1987 (final: Ajax — Lokomotiv Leipzig 1–0; goal by Marco van Basten). In May and June 1985, Cruyff returned to Ajax again. In the 1985–86 season, the league title was lost to Guus Hiddink's PSV, despite Ajax having a goal difference of +85 (120 goals for, 35 goals against). In the 1985–86 and 1986–87 seasons, Ajax won the Dutch Cup (KNVB-Beker).

It was during this period as manager that Cruyff was able to implement his favoured team formation—three mobile defenders; plus one more covering space - becoming, in effect, a defensive midfielder (from Rijkaard, Blind, Silooy, Verlaat, Larsson, Spelbos), two 'controlling' midfielders (from Rijkaard, Scholten, Winter, Wouters, Mühren, Witschge) with responsibilities to feed the attack-minded players, one second striker (Bosman, Scholten), two touchline-hugging wingers (from Bergkamp, van't Schip, De Wit, Witschge) and one versatile centre forward (from van Basten, Meijer, Bosman). So successful was this system that Ajax won the Champions League in 1995 playing Cruyff's system - a tribute to Cruyff's legacy as Ajax coach. Terry Venables as England manager was an advocate of this system, based on free-flowing football and intelligent and incisive individuals carrying out seemingly simple functions, in the Euro 1996 semi-final versus Germany, England used this system effectively.[22]


In 1988, Cruyff returned to Barcelona as manager. At Barcelona, Cruyff brought in players such as Josep Guardiola, José Mari Bakero, Txiki Begiristain, Goikoetxea, Ronald Koeman, Michael Laudrup, Romário, Gheorghe Hagi, and Hristo Stoichkov. Under Cruyff, Barcelona won La Liga four times between 1991 and 1994, and beat Sampdoria in both the 1989 European Cup Winners' Cup final and the 1992 European Cup final at Wembley. They also won a Copa del Rey in 1990, the European Super Cup in 1992 and three Supercopa de España.

Cruyff used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day prior to undergoing double heart bypass surgery in 1991 while he was the coach of Barcelona, after which he gave up smoking. He also led the anti-smoking campaign developed by the Health Department of the Catalan autonomous government. Cruyff juggled a cigarette pack 16 times in an anti-tobacco video sponsored by the Catalan Department of Health.[23][24][25]

With 11 trophies, Cruyff was Barcelona's most successful manager, but has since been surpassed by his former pupil Josep Guardiola who currently has 12. He has been the club's longest serving manager. However, in his final two seasons, he failed to win any trophies, and fell out with chairman Josep Lluís Núñez; this resulted in his departure from the club, and he vowed never to coach again.

While at Barcelona, he was in negotiations with the KNVB to manage the national team for the 1994 World Cup finals, but talks broke off at the last minute.[26]

His open support helped candidate Joan Laporta to victory in Barcelona's recent presidential elections. He continued to be an adviser for him, although he held no official post at Barcelona.

Johan Cruyff in 2009

Known as a player's coach with deep convictions with regard to his philosophy of the game, he is considered a visionary and his presence at Barcelona was said to have changed many things and this was the beginning of what is known as the "Dutch influence" at Barcelona.[27] The style of play Cruyff introduced at Barcelona came to be known as tiki-taka and was successfully adopted by the Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup winning Spanish national team.[28]

On 26 March 2010, Cruyff was named honorary president of Barcelona, in recognition of his contributions to the club as both a player and manager.[29] He was stripped of this title by new president Sandro Rosell in July 2010.[30][31]

Proposed return to Ajax

On 20 February 2008, in the wake of a major research on the ten-year-mismanagement, it was announced that Cruyff would be the new technical director at his boyhood club Ajax—this would be his fourth stint at the Amsterdam club.[32] However, Cruyff announced in March that he is pulling out of his planned return to Ajax because of "professional difference of opinion" between him and Ajax's new manager, Marco van Basten. Van Basten said that Cruyff's plans were "going too fast", because he was "not so dissatisfied with how things are going now".[33]


On 2 November 2009, Cruyff was named as manager of the Catalonia national team in place of Pere Gratacòs. It is his first managing job in thirteen years.[34]

On 11 February 2011, Johan Cruyff has returned to Ajax on an advisory basis after agreeing to become a member of one of three "sounding board groups".[35]



1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1982, 1983
1967, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1983
1971, 1972, 1973
1972, 1973
1968 Group A2


1986, 1987
1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
1991, 1992, 1994

Individual playing honours

1977, 1978 and 1979 MVP of the NASL Soccer.
1991, 1992
1992, 1994
  • European Player of the Century XX IFFHS: 1

Career statistics

Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Netherlands League KNVB Cup Europe Total
1964–65 Ajax Eredivisie 10 4 0 0 0 0 10 4
1965–66 19 16 4 9 0 0 23 25
1966–67 30 33 5 5 6 3 41 41
1967–68 33 25 5 6 3 2 41 33
1968–69 29 24 3 3 10 6 42 33
1969–70 33 23 5 6 8 4 46 33
1970–71 25 21 6 5 6 1 37 27
1971–72 32 25 4 3 9 5 45 33
1972–73 26 16 0 0 6 3 32 19
1973–74 2 3 0 0 0 0 2 3
Spain League Copa del Rey Europe Total
1973–74 Barcelona La Liga 26 16 0 0 0 0 26 16
1974–75 30 7 0 0 8 0 38 7
1975–76 29 6 0 0 9 2 38 8
1976–77 30 14 0 0 7 5 37 19
1977–78 28 5 7 1 10 5 45 11
USA League Open Cup North America Total
1979 Los Angeles Aztecs NASL 27 14 - - 27 14
1980 Washington Diplomats NASL 27 10 - - 27 10
Spain League Copa del Rey Europe Total
1980–81 Levante Segunda División 10 2 0 0 0 0 10 2
USA League Open Cup North America Total
1981 Washington Diplomats NASL 5 2 - - 5 2
Netherlands League KNVB Cup Europe Total
1981–82 Ajax Eredivisie 15 7 1 0 0 0 16 7
1982–83 21 7 7 2 2 0 30 9
1983–84 Feyenoord Eredivisie 33 11 7 1 4 1 44 13
Total Netherlands 308 215 47 40 54 25 409 280
Spain 153 50 7 1 34 12 184 63
USA 59 26 - - 59 28
Career total 520 290 54 41 88 37 662 368


Netherlands national team
Year Apps Goals
1966 2 1
1967 3 1
1968 1 0
1969 3 1
1970 2 2
1971 4 6
1972 5 5
1973 6 6
1974 12 8
1975 2 0
1976 4 2
1977 4 1
Total 48 33

Further honours

  • In 1996, the Dutch Supercup was named Johan Cruijff-schaal.
  • In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of the Netherlands by the KNVB as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.[37]
  • On 22 May 2006, Cruyff was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to football by Laureus in their annual World Sports Awards.[38]
  • Cruyff received a lifetime achievement award from the KNVB in August 2006.[39][40]
  • In 2006, Cruyff played in Dennis Bergkamp's Testimonial as a second-half substitute with Ajax.
  • On 18 April 2007, Ajax decided to retire the number 14 shirt in honour of Cruyff and in celebration of his birthday.[41]

Outside football

In the Netherlands, and to some extent Spain, Cruyff is famous for his one-liners that usually hover between brilliant insight and the blatantly obvious. They are famous for their Amsterdam dialect and incorrect grammar, and often feature tautologies and paradoxes.[42] In Spain, his most famous statement is "En un momento dado." The quote has been used for the title of a 2004 documentary about Cruyff’s life: Johan Cruijff - En un momento dado. In the Netherlands, his most famous one-liner is "Ieder nadeel heb z'n voordeel" ("Every disadvantage has its advantage") and his way of expressing himself has been dubbed "Cruijffiaans." Cruyff rarely limits himself to a single line though, and in a comparison with the equally oracular but reserved football manager Rinus Michels, Kees Fens equated Cruyff’s monologues to experimental proze, “without a subject, only an attempt to drop words in a sea of uncertainty (…) there is no full stop”.[42]

In November 2003, Cruyff invoked legal proceedings against the publisher Tirion Uitgevers, over its photo book Johan Cruyff de Ajacied (Johan Cruijff the Ajax player), which used photographs by Guus de Jong. Cruyff was working on another book, also using De Jong's photographs, and claimed unsuccessfully that Tirion's book violated his trademark and portrait rights.

In 2004, Cruyff ended sixth place in the election of De Grootste Nederlander (The Greatest Dutchman).

Cruyff had a small hit (No.21 in the charts) in the Netherlands with "Oei Oei Oei (Dat Was Me Weer een Loei)." Upon arriving in Barcelona, the Spanish branch of Polydor decided to release the single in Spain as well, where it was rather popular.[43]


On 2 December 1968, Cruyff married Danny Coster. Johan and Danny have three children together: Chantal (16 November 1970), Susila (27 January 1972), and Jordi (9 February 1974). The family has lived in Barcelona since 1973, with a six year interruption from December 1981 to January 1988 when they lived in Vinkeveen, The Netherlands.

His son Jordi has played for teams such as Barcelona (while father Johan was manager), Manchester United, and Alavés. Interestingly, the younger Cruyff sports "Jordi" on his shirt to distinguish himself from his famous father, which also reflects the common Spanish practice of referring to players by given names alone or by nicknames. It is also related to the commercial claim of "name and fame" of his father to the name Cruyff-Cruijff.

His grandson, Jessua Angoy, currently plays for the reserve side at Wigan Athletic.


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