Player Number

Cruijff played successively for Ajax, FC Barcelona, Los Angeles Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Levante UD and Feyenoord. As a player, Cruijff was known for his technical ability: his mesmeric ball skill, speed and acceleration, the ability to change direction at will and his tactical insights make him one of the most gifted footballers of all time. He has been named as one of the best football players of his generation, alongside Garrincha, Pele and Franz Beckenbauer.

The highlights of his football career as a player include winning the European Cup three times (1971 - 3, with Ajax), the Ballon d'Or (European Player of the Year) thrice (1971, 1973 - 4), and leading the Netherlands to a runners-up medal in the 1974 World Cup.
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date of birth

25 April 1947

place of birth





International Career

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.

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 Radio 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."





1974 World Cup

With all of his accomplishments, 1974 gave Cruyff the ultimate stage: the World Cup.

While his status with the national team was jeopardized early in his career when he was suspended for a year after being the first Dutch player to receive a red card during a friendly against Czechoslovakia v Holland understood that Rinus Michels would build its team around Cruyff. And with his mentor at the helm and Cruyff on the verge of another European Player of the Year honor, it seemed the Oranje was at the height of its powers

After winning its group, Holland put on impressive displays, winning 2-0 over East Germany, 4-0 over Argentina, and 2-0 over three-time winner Brazil. Clearly displaying the most skills of any team in the tournament, the Oranje advanced to the final to face their hosts, the clinical and efficient West Germany.
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3 Goals


3 Assists


55 Dribbles


2 Yellow Cards


630 Minutes

Club Career

At 17, he took the field wearing No. 9 for De Godenzonen (translation: Sons of the Gods) in an Eredivisie match. While falling 3-1 to GVAV, Cruyff gave a glimpse of the future scoring Ajax's lone goal. He delivered on that promise a year later, scoring 25 goals in 23 games and leading the squad to the Eredivisie title. It turned out that was only the beginning.

Under the guidance of his coach and mentor Rinus Michels, the "father of total football", Cruyff joined by talented teammates Piet Keizer, Wim Suurbier and Barry Hulshoff led an era of Ajax domination in the Eredivisie and Europe. From 1966 to 1973, De Godenzonen claimed six league titles, four national KNVB-Becker Cups, three European Cups, one European Super Cup, and one World Club Cup. While it was a versatile and talented team, there was little doubt who the star was, with Cruyff named European Footballer of the Year in 1971 and 1973. It was at the beginning of the season of his first European honor, after returning from an injury, that he donned his famed No 14, which has become synonymous with Cruyff.

However, this golden era of Ajax came to a halt when Cruyff left for FC Barcelona. Some say, according to Planet World Cup, he left due to the disappointment of losing his captaincy to Keizer. Other say he was simply following Michels, who had taken over Barca late in 1971. Either way, he left a gaping hole at Ajax and had an immediate impact on Barcelona, which captured its first La Liga title in 14 years upon Cruyff's arrival.

While Cruyff may have stepped down from international competition, his desire to continue to play took him to the U.S. and Los Angeles Aztecs of the star-studded (albeit fading stars) North American Soccer League. Even among some of the biggest names in football history, Cruyff made his mark, earning league MVP honors in 1979. He joined the NASL's Washington Diplomats the following year before returning to Europe.

After a brief stop with Levante, a second division Spanish squad, he returned to Ajax in December 1981, scoring the first goal in a 4-1 victory over Haarlem. "Pythagoras in boots" would go on to lead Ajax league titles in the 1981-1982 and 1982-1983 seasons, and another KNVB-Beker Cup in the latter.

Then the unthinkable happened. After Ajax failed to offer him a contract, an angry and offended Cruyff agreed to play for archrival Feyenoord. To make it worse for Ajax, Cruyff's brilliance continued, returning Feyenoord to its first Championship in a decade, and winning the KNVB-Beker Cup.
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