Friday Apr 25, 1947 to Thursday Mar 24, 2016
Netherlands, SpainHendrik Johannes Cruijff OON (25 April 1947 – 24 March 2016) was a Dutch professional football player and coach. As a player, he won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1971, 1973, and 1974. Cruyff was the most famous exponent of the football philosophy known as Total Football explored by Rinus Michels, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in football history. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dutch football rose from obscurity to become a powerhouse in the sport. Cruyff led the Netherlands to the final of the 1974 FIFA World Cup and received the Golden Ball as player of the tournament. At the 1974 finals, he executed a feint that subsequently was named after him, the "Cruyff Turn", a move widely replicated in the modern game. Wearing the number 14 jersey, he set a trend for wearing shirt numbers outside the usual starting line-up numbers of one to eleven.
Ajax won the Intercontinental Cup, beating Argentina's Independiente 1–1 in the first game followed by 3–0. The first leg was held on 6 September 1972 at La Doble Visera, home of Independiente, and ended in a 1–1 draw, with goals from Johan Cruyff and Francisco Sá. The return leg was held 22 days later on 28 September 1972 at the Olympic Stadium, which was won by Ajax 3–0.
After his spell in the U.S. and a short-lived stay in Spain, Cruyff returned to play in his homeland, rejoining Ajax on 30 November 1980 as "technical advisor" to trainer Leo Beenhakker, Ajax being eighth in the league table at the time after 13 games played. After 34 games, however, Ajax finished the 1980–81 season in second.
In March 1981, Cruyff took the field for the first time for Levante. Injuries and disagreements with the administration of the club, however, blighted his spell in the Segunda División, and he only made ten appearances, scoring two goals. Having failed to secure promotion to the first division, a contract with Levante fell through.
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 (1–0). In May and June 1985, Cruyff returned to Ajax again. In the 1985–86 season, the league title was lost to Jan Reker's PSV, despite Ajax having a goal difference of +85 (120 goals for, 35 goals against).
The 1992 European Cup Final was a football match held on 20 May 1992 at Wembley Stadium, London, between Sampdoria of Italy and Barcelona of Spain. Barcelona won the game 1–0 after extra time, thanks to a Ronald Koeman free kick, to record their first triumph in the competition. It was the first to have a group stage involving the eight second-round winners split into two groups, and the winner of each one met in the final. In doing so, they became the second Spanish club to win the tournament and the 19th overall.
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, his fourth stint with the Amsterdam club.