MONDAY 28 MARCH 2016
The football world has come together to tribute the life of a footballing legend, Johan Cruyff.
Cruyff, 68 passed away in Barcelona last week surrounded by his family. Barcelona was a second home for the Dutch legend, and a place where he transformed a struggling team into one of the most highly decorated sides in the world.
The Dutchman led Barcelona to their first league title in 14 years and won their first ever European Cup.
At his time with Ajax, he had made his name as one of the worlds best, generating interest from Spanish side Real Madrid.
They had technically signed Cruyff, but he was a man who wanted to create his own legacy rather than join an already made one.
He was prepared to retire if the transfer wasn’t amended.
A surprising fact for the modern day supporter, is that Barcelona weren’t always an indestructible force.
On Cruyff’s debut, the Catalans were sitting at the bottom end of the table and had only won two of seven games.
Come final match-day, Barcelona were Spanish Champions and unbeaten in 22 games with Cruyff in the side before clinching the title.
“Cruyff was a sensational player,” says his former team-mate Juan Manuel Asensi. “He was also a winner. The change in mentality was brutal. It was like we had been drowning and now we were pulled out of the water.”
As a manager, Cruyff was a genius.
With Cruyff, everything changed – the club as well as the team.” He defied convention, at every level; this was not only sport, it was society,” said Asensi.
Cruyff rejuvenated a debt stricken Barcelona, and changed the entire mentality of the club.
Barcelona won four straight league titles and finally won that faous first ever European Cup against Sampadoria at Wembley in 1992.
His legacy will forever live in the hearts of the football fans.
Johan’s son Jordi, gave the perfect description of his father, and the imprint he has left on the football world.
“The rest of us are just mortals- we come and go”, said Jordi.
WATCH: Harry Kane ‘Cruyff’ like goal
By Ari Charilaou (He’s also on twitter here)
Mundial Mornings is your morning wrap of world football. The latest news, transfers, matches, rumours from Australia and the world delivered every morning.