Ajax, Barcelona, Cruyff

Ajax, Barcelona, Cruyff

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Ajax, Barcelona, Cruyff Johan Cruyff is one of the greatest footballers. Here, he talks about how he learnt his trade, going on to play football for Barcelona and Ajax. He also talks about the philosophy behind ‘total football’, the driving force behind the great Dutch side of the seventies, and a style of football many teams attempt to emulate. Full descriptionJohan Cruyff stands among the elite in the pantheon of football’s greats. Perhaps, only Pelé ever surpassed him. And that is arguable. Ajax Barcelona Cruyff constitutes a collection of interviews with Holland’s greatest ever player conducted by Dutch journalists Barend and Van Dorp. Most of the conversations transcribed here touch on the issues which followed Cruyff throughout his successful career as player and coach, both with Ajax of Amsterdam, and Barcelona. The authors refer to Cruyff as an obstinate maestro, an impression certainly evident in the text. However, it is also undeniably clear that under the surface remains a man who cares, with perhaps unparalleled insight into the mechanics of football and of modern footballers themselves. While Cruyff’s view of his numerous disputes with coaches, chairmen, players, journalists and just about anyone else willing to argue, are well-aired here, and provide another perspective on an already well-documented career, the most intriguing dialogue deals with tactical matters. This provides elementary reading for anyone thinking about the game today. Few, if any, players have had such an impact on the tactical side of modern football. As the innovator responsible for the total football played thrillingly by the Dutch in the 1970s, Cruyff passes comment on Dutch masters past and present such as Van Basten, Koeman, Rijkaard and Bergkamp. When the interviews turn to Cruyff’s own playing systems, the Dutch superstar’s comments seem at once revelationary and simplistic. Unintentionally, this superb book could have become as essential as any ever written on football tactics. Meanwhile, it stands as a tour de force in its own right. —Trevor Crowe

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