3 Great Anecdotes about Cryuff

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3 Great Anecdotes about Cryuff

Post by The Franchise on Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:43 am

Johan Cruyff’s gift to see things differently makes him a genius. His ability to put his vision into practise makes him a revolutionary. But it’s mainly his endless overconfidence in his own infallibility – and therefore his right to do what he wants – that makes him the source of great anecdotes. Three of these stories in particular help to characterize the legendary number 14.




1980 – Descending from the stands to save Ajax



Cruyff’s most glorious moment came when he was neither a player nor yet a coach. Having played in the USA between 1978 and 1980, Cruyff, now aged 34, has returned to Holland. But before resuming his playing career at Ajax, he first signs with the club as ‘technical adviser’ – whatever that meant.

What exactly it meant, Ajax coach Leo Beenhakker would quickly find out. On Sunday 30 November 1980, to be exact.

It’s a typical Sunday afternoon for Ajax and Beenhakker. Playing against FC Twente, Ajax score the opening goal. But then things turn sour. Twente start to outplay Ajax. They equalize. And score again. And score again. Ajax are 3-1 down, with no sign of things improving. Beenhakker doesn’t know what to do.

High up on the stands, the figure of Johan Cruyff is looking down on the spectacle. His role is to observe the match. Not to interfere. But Cruyff decides he has seen enough. He stands up and starts making his way down to the pitch.

Cruyff opens the fence, walks to the bench and takes his place next to Beenhakker. Cruyff doesn’t waste a moment. He tells the young Frank Rijkaard to start preparing himself to enter as a substitute. He starts giving tactical instructions to all the other players. Everyone automatically follows his orders.





The effects are overwhelming. Whether his tactical instructions are genius, or whether his unexpected appearance was enough to inspire Ajax to new heights, we will never know. But the fact is that the game turns around, completely. Ajax end up winning the match 5-3. Cruyff has demonstrated his football genius in a manner as strong as when he scored in a European cup final.

Beenhakker felt humilated. His facial expressions during this post-match interview speak volumes.




Beenhakker later stated he should have knocked out Cruyff. Such is the envy of the mediocre toward the genius.







1984 – He knows it all



Cruyff is furious in the summer of 1983. Aged 36, he is told he is no longer needed as a player at Ajax. “Because we also won the games when you were injured”, the Ajax chairman explains his decision. Cruyff feels humiliated. Driven by a desire for revenge, he does the impossible.

He signs for Ajax arch-rivals Feyenoord. He rediscovers his best form and guides Feyenoord to the 1984 League and Cup double.

Among the Feyenoord players, he quickly wins a reputation for thinking he knows everything. To trick him, the Feyenoord players ask him for the definitions of several difficult words. Full of his usual confidence, Cruyff explains one meaning after another. The players pretend to be impressed. In reality, they have prepared a trap. The final word has a catch. It doesn’t exist.

Still, Cruyff proceeds to explain it. lnitially the players laugh, telling him he got fooled. But Cruyff continues to insist. Feyenoord player Bennie Wijnstekers describes the scene: “Cruyff kept explaining the word with so much confidence that we started to doubt ourselves. Maybe that word existed after all?




1992 – We train for my sake


Cruyff differed from most coaches. Even in his late 40′s, he can still be found participating in Barcelona’s training sessions, especially when playing 6 vs 6 on a small pitch. In an interview from 1992 he is remarkably honest about his motivations.

How many more years do you want to continue being a coach?

Cruyff: “No idea. But in the first place, as long as I enjoy it. I love playing football. I love taking part in training sessions.”

Will you retire as a coach the moment you cant play anymore?

Cruyff: “That’s certainly possible. Playing makes this job tolerable.”

Are you still better than the players?

Cruyff: “Depends in what. The pitch is large. But as you’ve seen this morning, I make it smaller to suit me.”

To suit you?

Cruyff: “Of course, if it’s too big I can’t play. I have to change the rules so I can play. If we train 5 times a week, it’s twice for the players and three times for me.”
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Re: 3 Great Anecdotes about Cryuff

Post by BarrileteCosmico on Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:11 am

Never heard any of these before. Cruyff :bow:

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Re: 3 Great Anecdotes about Cryuff

Post by messixaviesta on Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:30 pm

dani, thanks for an excellent read.

Cruyff is possibly the single most outstanding individual football has ever seen.

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Re: 3 Great Anecdotes about Cryuff

Post by free_cat on Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:07 pm

I knew about the Bennakker one.
The one about the words doesn't sound feasible as Cruyff is renowned for his poor language skills.

On the other hand, Cruyff is also famous by some other anecdotes which have quite a dark side, like when he was glad that a relative of ex Barça president Nuñez died (was fired after this), or when he kicked off a journalist from a Barça plane going to play abroad in a CL because he was a cast member of a humor TV programme much alike Crackovia, and he didn't like his character.

A genius, and great character, but he had some flaws, as everyone.

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Re: 3 Great Anecdotes about Cryuff

Post by Madvillain on Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:40 pm

First example should be well known by all football fans in Holland. Prime example of what kind of person Cruijff is. Never heard of the thing with words at Feyenoord but found this little clip on youtube. Very nice little watch but unfortunately no subtitles. The thing with the non-existent word is mentioned by Wijnstekers between 4:05 and 4:40.



They actually left 1 thing out in the translation. The other players even pointed out to Johan that the word can't be found in the 'Van Dale' (which is the name of company that produces the most dictionaries in The Netherlands) but Cruijff replied by saying that the Van Dale was wrong about this.

If Anyone wants me to translate anything else from this vid, just ask.

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Re: 3 Great Anecdotes about Cryuff

Post by arjun.123 on Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:13 am

I love these kinds of anecdotes of great persons. Great post, Franchise.
Cruyff, the father of La Masia :bow:
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