Wed 01 September 2021 | 18:00

Top facts about Johan Cruyff, the influencer of the modern football

Let us go back to the prime times where football legends were nothing but some teenagers with innovative ideas. Those teenagers became legends and the ideas developed into the main parts of football philosophy; we welcome you to top facts about Johan Cruyff, the influencer of the modern football.

Hendrik Johannes Cruijff was a professional footballer and coach in the Netherlands. He won the Ballon d'Or three times as a player, in 1971, 1973, and 1974. Cruyff is widely considered as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, as well as one of the greatest managers.

He was a proponent of the football concept known as Total Football, which was pioneered by Rinus Michels.

Cruyff's style of play and football philosophy have impacted managers and players alike, making him one of the most important characters in football history.

Ajax and Barcelona are two clubs that have built young academies using Cruyff's coaching ideas. Cruyff's coaching philosophy aided in the resurrection of Ajax's international success in the 1990s, and Spanish football's success at both club and international levels from 2008 to 2012 has been mentioned as proof of Cruyff's influence on modern football.

Cruyff, who has worn the number 14 jersey since 1970, started a trend among players who, if given the option, chose a jersey number other than one to eleven.

Cruyff was named European Player of the Century in a survey conducted by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics in 1999, and he finished second to Pelé in their World Player of the Century poll. He placed in third place in a poll conducted by the French magazine France Football, which polled past Ballon d'Or winners to determine the Football Player of the Century.

Enough of the introduction, top facts about Johan Cruyff await us.

A full and complete article about top facts about Johan Cruyff, the influencer of the modern football

Of course, we would get to the details of his personal life, relationship, and finally but sadly his death in the next sections of

top facts about Johan Cruyff

, but for now, let’s get into the article and learn more about his most basic information.

Johan Cruyff information

Let's start with his fundamental information, which we'll go over in more detail in the next sections of the top facts about Johan Cruyff. just before getting into his information we would also recommend you to read

his biography

on Sportmob.

Personal information

  • Full name:

    Hendrik Johannes Cruijff

  • Date of birth:

    25 April 1947

  • Date of death: 

    24 March 2016

  • Age:

    68 years

  • Star Sign:


  • Star sign features:

    Reliable, patient, practical, devoted

  • Nationality:


  • Place of birth:

    Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • Marital status:


  • Religion:


Football information

  • Total appearances:


  • Club appearances:


  • National appearances:


Physical stats and appearance

  • Height:

    1.78 m

  • Weight:

    71 kg

  • Hair color:


  • Skin color:


  • Facial hair:


Now that you've gathered enough information to construct a storage system to hold all of the upcoming data, it's safe to state that we should move on to the next portion of top facts about Johan Cruyff, which is his personal life events.

Johan Cruyff personal life

We will start this section with

top facts about Johan Cruyff

with his relationship.

Cruyff met his future wife Diana Margaretha "Danny" Coster on the marriage of his


teammate Piet Keizer on 13 June 1967. They began dating and he married Danny on 2 December 1968, at the age of 21. His dad was Cor Coster the Netherlands businessman, who was Cruyff's s agent as well.

In addition, he was credited with Cruyff's transfer to the FC


in 1973. For nearly fifty years, the marriage has been joyful. Cruyff maintained a rather quiet private life outside the soccer community, contrary to his famous strong personality and celebrity status.

Cruyff and his family were victims while still living as a player in Barcelona at the end of 1977 of an armed aggressor who forced his way into his Barcelona home.

And at the end of his international career, the man who was the ultimate football superstar was facing a choice of family values and a greatly promising World Cup glory. But family comes first for Cruyff. He added that the attempted kidnap was the reason in the interview with Catalunya Radio, which he decided not to go to the Argentine World Cup in 1978.

Johan Cruyff children

He and Danny were joined together by three children: Chantal (16th November 1970), Susila (27th January 1972), and Jordi (9 February 1974). The family has lived in Barcelona since 1973 and lived in Vinkeveen, the Netherlands, for six years between December 1981 and January 1988.

After Catalonia's saint patron, St Jordi, popularly known in English as St George of Lydda, Cruyff named his third child. This was considered as a challenge to Spanish dictator General Franco, who had made all Catalan nationalist emblems illegal.

Let’s make it all about his son, Jordi, from now on, in this section of top facts about Johan Cruyff.

In order to record his birth, Cruyff had to fly his son back to the Netherlands as the


authorities forbade the name "Jordi".

The decision made by Cruyff to work so hard for supporting Catalan nationhood is part of the reason he is a hero for Catalan and Barcelona supporters.

Jordi Cruyff played for teams like Barcelona,

Manchester United

, Alavés, and Espanyol. Jesjua Angoy, his grandson, played at Dayton Dutch Lions. The younger Cruyff wears "Jordi" for his shirt, which also shows how the usual Spanish habit refers to playing with names or nicknames alone. 

Johan Cruyff religion

We have said that Johan was an atheist, but how did anyone assume that Johan was an atheist, lets find out in this section of top facts about Johan Cruyff.

Once Cruyff called himself "not religious" criticizing the practice of devotedly Catholic Spain players: "In Spain, all 22 players make the sign of the cross before a game; if it worked, every game would be a tie."

This widespread comment gained him a position on the lists of the best athletes on the globe. But in the 1990s Cruyff told RKK-KRO, a Netherland-based Catholic radio station, he attended Sunday school as a child where he learned about the Bible and thought that "there's something there." while he did not go to the church as an adult.

Cruyff was also said to have a devotion to Jewish cultural affairs. He grew up in the Amsterdam neighborhood in Betondorp, with a large Jewish community and  because of the way he has been linked to Ajax Amsterdam, a football club that has had such a strong Dutch Jewish influence and some even called it "Jewish club", he was said to have connections with the jewish community.

Johan Cruyff death

From his youth, Cruyff always was a heavy smoker before an emergency bypass operation was performed in 1991. Following the surgery, he gave up smoking and watched games to suck lollipops.

He was featured in the advertisement at the Catalan health department and said, "Soccer gave me everything in life”. He never again promised to be a coach in 1997 but remained a soccer vociferous critic and analyst after a further heart problem (until 2009).

Cruyff was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2015. After the news broke, on 14th minute which was Cruyff's former shirt number, the audience paid a round of applause at all Eredivisie matches.

In the lead-up to their match at the Camp Nou against


(25 October 2015), Barcelona's players showed solidarity to Cruyff with their orange T-Shirts "Ànims Johan" (Catalan for "Get well soon Johan"). Cruyff writes in his weekly column De Telegraaf: "Often, the media have an extra tax but this has changed during the last week.

The manner a response is provided in my scenario across a variety of media was emotive and kind.”

He announced in mid-February 2016 that he was responding well to chemotherapy and that he was "winning” his cancer battle. On the second day of winter testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, just outside Barcelona, on March 2, 2016, he paid a visit to Dutch Formula One driver Max Verstappen.

Cruyff appeared to be in excellent spirits, and it is believed that this was his last public appearance. Cruyff died in a Barcelona clinic on March 24, 2016, at the age of 68, surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren.

Johan Cruyff tribute

Cruyff's death stunned football fans throughout the world. Several individuals (including players and managers) and organizations (including clubs) paid tribute to him within a week of his passing, particularly on social media.

Thousands of Barcelona supporters paid their respects at the Cruyff memorial, which was unveiled inside the Camp Nou stadium. Even his opponents admired Cruyff's brilliance.

Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, who had a tense relationship with Cruyff, was one of the memorial's first visitors. Florentino Pérez, the president of

Real Madrid

, led a delegation to the tribute, which included former players Emilio Butragueno and Amancio Amaro.

Ramón Calderón, the former president of Real Madrid, said of Cruyff: "He is remembered as a revolutionary, a dreamer, a visionary, and an innovator who transformed a game based on strength into one based on skill and technique, giving birth to "tiki-taka."

Football, he used to say, should be played with the brain... I ran into him a few times after he retired from football, and he was usually playing golf, which he enjoyed. He would always talk about football with the same enthusiasm and excitement that he had when he was playing and coaching. A legend has passed away, yet he has left a lasting legacy."

On the day after Cruyff's death, the Netherlands and


played a friendly match. In the 14th minute, the game (in the Amsterdam Arena) was halted as players, staff, and fans applauded Cruyff, who wore the number 14 shirt for his country.

Both teams' mascots wore Netherlands national team shirts with Cruyff's number 14 on the front, and there were numerous banners in the stands reading "Johan Bedankt" ("Thank you, Johan").

Johan Cruyff in other fields

Johan was an unforgettable superstar when it comes to football, but he was also active in other fields such as the clothing business and footwear. Let’s see how far he had gone with those businesses before his death in this part of top facts about Johan Cruyff.

Cruyff is the author/co-author of a number of books (in Dutch and Spanish) on his football career, particularly his beliefs and outlook on the game. He also contributed weekly columns to the newspapers El Periódico and De Telegraaf in Barcelona (Amsterdam-based newspaper).

"His intelligence off the field as well as on it was quite remarkable,"

British football

writer Brian Glanville wrote. "How well I remember seeing Cruyff surrounded by journalists from all over the world in 1978, to whose questions he replied almost casually in a multiplicity of languages. Not only Dutch, but English, French, Spanish, and German."

Cruyff was nearing the end of his career with Barcelona in 1979. He began to envisage himself designing a line of footwear to compete with the technological and luxurious attributes of those already on the market. After a few years of trying and failing to persuade major sportswear companies to take his proposal seriously, he finally succeeded.

After all, this was an unusual aim for a professional athlete at the time. He eventually teamed up with his close friend, Italian designer Emilio Lazzarini, and set out to build a technical shoe that managed to strike a balance between usefulness and aesthetics.

Initially, the collection was filled with "luxury" indoor football shoes, but due to their appealing design, they quickly became fashion shoes. As a result, the Cruyff Classics label was formed.

Johan Cruyff quotes

Let us look at the top 3 wisest words of this legend in the last part of top facts about Johan Cruyff.

"Every trainer talks about movement, about running a lot. I say don't run so much. Football is a game you play with your brain. You have to be in the right place at the right moment, not too early, not too late." The first principle for Cruyff’s way of playing football was that the player was required to use his /her brain more than the physical abilities.

"In my teams, the goalie is the first attacker, and the striker the first defender." This was the most important part of the football philosophy. Every attack starts with the goalkeeper and every defense starts with the forwards.

Cruyff was proud of what he had done, he was happy with his career and all the influence that he had on the whole philosophy of football. "Winning is an important thing, but to have your own style, to have people copy you, to admire you, that is the greatest gift."

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