All Time Great

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar May 2, 2016 18:03

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All Time Great

By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (March 24th 2016)

A Very Sad Day

The world of football united to mourn the passing of one of the greatest players ever to play the beautiful. Johan Cruijff, 69, died of lung cancer. The word genius is overused, but in a footballing sense, at least, it’s almost an injustice to use in reference to Cruijff. He was a rare talent – one of the few to have a skill named after him, the famous Cruijff Turn, which he unleashed on the greatest stage, the World Cup in 1974.

He was the star of one of the greatest teams not to win the World Cup, up there with Ferenc Puskás’ Mighty Magyars, but for Cruijff principles were highly valued. He turned down the chance to set the record straight four years later in protest at the appalling human rights record of hosts, Argentina.

He was afforded the unprecedented tribute of the match between the Netherlands and France stopping in the 14th minute to honour him.

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Northern Ireland’s manager Michael O’Neill was a young child when Cruiff was in his prime. “It’s a sad day really because, first of all, obviously I was aware that he was ill, but I didn’t know it was as serious as that, but I mean you’re looking at an iconic player”, he said. “You only have to go on websites to see what Johan Cruijff meant to football”.

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O’Neill never saw him play in the flesh – he was too young, when Cruijff took the football world by storm. “I think when we lose any of these great players, and these players are I think iconic in tournaments, as Johan Cruijff was in the ’74 World Cup and the great Ajax team, you know, it’s a sad day. As I say, when you see the tributes that have been pouring in, you see the impact that he’s made in football”.

Visionary

Johan Cruijff wasn’t just a truly great player, he also disproved the adage that great players don’t make great managers. Wales’ manager Chris Coleman highlighted this. Cruijff was a visionary and innovative coach who laid the foundations of a legacy not just in the Netherlands, but Spain too.

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“I think he was one of the best players that’s ever walked on to a pitch, a brilliant coach”, Coleman said. “If you look at Barçelona now, that didn’t just happen. It happened because one man went to that club and started it all and that was Johan Cruijff. He started the ball rolling there. He put in place the type of football that Barçelona are playing, and I never met him unfortunately, but football great – one of the best players and one of best coaches the game’s ever seen. So very sad – sad he’s passed on”.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar May 2, 2016 18:03