“I’m not religious. In Spain all 22 players make the sign of the cross before they enter the pitch. If it works all matches must therefore end in a tie”
Cruyff, the magician with football , the Dutch striker who was selected European footballer of the century, died yesterday at the age of 68. He was a non believer.
The Guardian wrote:
This was football from another planet, football as reimagined by a master choreographer assigned to strip it down, discard the rusted and outmoded components and reconstruct it in a way that was not just more aesthetically pleasing but more lethally and unanswerably efficient. The result was an approach that seemed to draw not just on a completely new set of skills but on a different mentality, one finally set free from the game as it had been known in its previous incarnations.
With Johan Cruyff, the grace of Rudolf Nureyev came to the football pitch.
Cruyff incarnated the new way. Lithe, slender and as swift as the wind, ferociously competitive, with the strength in his thighs and the anticipation to ride the scything tackles of the time, alert to everything around him and delving into a bottomless bag of technical and tactical tricks, he treated football as, above all, an excuse for exercising creativity. Being Dutch, he was used to questioning the received wisdom, and when he appeared on the international scene towards the end of the 1960s, the game was ready to be shaken up by a bunch of long-haired revolutionaries.
Though he was not able lift the World Cup, he left his huge legacy to world in the form of Total football. The playing style of club Barcelona, which he coached for a long time, is a living example of his legacy.