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A Johan Cruyff turn to heaven

Johan Cruyff, Netherlands, Barcelona
The best tribute to Cruyff is the fact that he has a football move/turn named after him and that he pioneered a footballing philosophy. Cruyff will never be forgotten. But he will be missed.

Dutch football maestro Johan Cruyff passed away at the age of 68 after a prolonged battle with cancer and with it football lost its pioneering total footballer. The man who was the embodiment of Total Football – a theory where any outfield player could play in any position as depending on the current needs of the team – Cruyff was the centrepiece of Netherlands as they reached the final of the 1974 World Cup where he was named player for the tournament.

It was against Sweden at the ’74 World Cup where Cruyff produced the piece of skill that would immortalise him for generations. With a slick swerve he dragged the ball behind his standing leg with the inside of foot leaving defender Jan Olsson in his wake. The move – known as the Cruyff turn – is seared on to everyone who has seen it, is attempted by amateurs and professionals and is now symbolic of everything the Man used to be: Outrageous, Outer-worldly and Sensational.

Cruyff was not just inspirational for the Dutch side but also his club side Ajax, whom he led to three successive European Cup wins in 1971, 1972 and 1973. He would later go on to coach Barcelona where the mark he left is felt to this day.

He employed the Total Football philosophy as the Catalans won their first European Cup in 1992. His protégées Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola would follow suit as managers of Barca, who have been the world’s best team by a mile over the past decade. The English Premier league too is likely to witness this brand of football as Guardiola takes over at Manchester City next season.

The best tribute to Cruyff is the fact that he has a football move/turn named after him and that he pioneered a footballing philosophy. Cruyff will never be forgotten. But he will be missed.

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