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26.03.2010 17:26

Cruyff and Barça: A special relationship

Roger Bogunyà

The relationship between Johan Cruyff and FC Barcelona has been ongoing for nearly 40 years after the Dutch star signed for the Catalan outfit from Ajax in 1973 and went onto become a legendary coach at Camp Nou two decades later.

JOHAN_CRUYFF_-_2.jpgNow the trainer of Catalunya the player famous for wearing the number 14 shirt with such distinction won the European Cup three times with Ajax and six Dutch league titles. At Barça he helped them to the championship as a player in 1973/74 after the club had gone for 14 years without winning the league.

Cruyff went on to play in the United States, then Levante before returning to play in Holland, was capable of imposing himself on any game with his technique, vision and style, as well as his leadership abilities. During his six seasons playing for Barça he wrote his name in the club's history books as one of the best ever players to play in the Blaugrana shirt.

Eight moer years

CRUYFF-ENTRENADOR.jpgAfter being such a great player for Barça he returned as coach in 1988 and was stay for eight seasons and oversee a period of unprecedented success. Along with four consecutive league titles Cruyff added the European Cup to the club's trophy room for the first time ever.

Iconic figure

BARxA-CSKA_x4-11-92x_-_2.jpgCruyff's vision for the way he wanted his team to play ensured that he become an iconic figure at Camp Nou and around the world as he set out his Barça side to attack. The style that Cruyff introduced manifested itself as the Dream Team that lit up the Spanish league and Europe with their electrical, forward-thinking way of playing as the coach ensured that the way that he played was also seen in his players. Cruyff won the Ballon d'Or on three occasions and he also excelled when he donned the trainer's tracksuit and passed on his knowledge to those in his squad. All the success that he enjoyed from the bench only added to the legendary status that he had build up as a player at Barça.

Lasting legacy

12-01-00_GUARDIOLA_00.jpgIn 1996 Cruyff's time in charge of Barça came to an end, but he had implemented the formula at the club that would remain until this day. The coaches that followed maintained that style with Frank Rijkaard in particular utilising a very similar system to gain great success during his time in charge. Now Pep Guardiola is at the helm and as one of Cruyff's star player he has also employed the same tactics.

The current Barça side are currently the reigning champions of six competitions with a similar spirit to the team of the 1990's and that is a huge credit to Cruyff.

More information:

His career as a Barça player

His career as Barça coach
Cruyff and Barça: A special relationship
Catalan coach
On November 2, 2009 Johan Cruyff accepted the role of head coach of the Catalunya team. At 62 the Dutchman returned to training and enjoyed a 4-2 win against Argentina in his first game in charge at Camp Nou.

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