In every process there is a vital moment, an event that afterwards nothing stays the same as it was. In Fc Barcelona’s history, that vital moment happened on Agust 13th 1973, the day Johan Cruyff signed for Barca. Therefore, in that day the history of Barca changed forever. The Johan Cruyff legacy began in 1973, but in the mind of the Barca fans it will live forever.
Cruyff started his career with Ajax, winning 8 ligas and 3 Champions cups. However, after 9 years as an Ajax player, the legendary dutchman looked for his next challenge. Luckily, in the end he signed for Barca. But, getting him was not an easy task at all, and it could have ended differently,
The Johan Cruyff legacy starts
Summer 1973 was the first time Spanish teams were allowed to sign foreign players in the Fascist Spain of Franco. However, the president of Barca at that time wanted German legend Gred Miller. However, others in the board said that Johan Cruyff is not a usual player, and boy they were right. On the other hand, Ajax already accepted an offer from Real Madrid, but Cruyff vetoed a move to whay he called “that fascist club”. In addition, Cruyff wanted Ajax to let him decide, while threatening not arrive to the 1974 world cup, and even retire. Eventually, Cruyff got his wish, and moved to Barca in the summer of 73.
Barca signed Cruyff on August, but bureaucratic problems prevented him of playing, until October 28th, the day of his debut. How was Barca at that time? 4 points from relegation, and counting 14 years without winning the championship. However, his debut market a new era, and Barca won the championship in that season. In addition, that season market a new record- 5-0 away win at the clasico! Furthermore, few days after that historic win, Johan’s wife gave birth to their son. The Cruyff couple named their son Jordi, a catalan name that were not allowed in Spain in those days.
After six years with Barca, Cruyff left the club and spent his last few years playing in Los Angeles. Johan Cruyf was an unusual player indeed, and his playing career was vital in the history of Barca. Although those were dark ages, with an anti catalan dictator ruling the country, Johan marked the change. But,he made a bigger change as a coach.
The Johan Cruyff legacy: The coaching years
The 80’s were a bumpy era for Barca. On the one hand, buying Maradona, Bernd Schuster, Gary Lineker and getting to the Champions cup finals. However, Maradona didn’t succeed, Bernd Schuster left for Real Madrid, Gary Lineker’s era was good but not excelent, and at the Champions cup final Barca lost to a team from Romania. In addiotion, at the end of coach Terry Venables the club had an old and torn up squad.
Johan Cruyff arrived and decided to make a revolution. Only few players stayed, and many new players arrived. His two first seasons were bad, but the they set the foundations for what happened next. Players like Koeman, Bakero, Txiqui and Michael Laudrup signed. However, it seemed like the club always missed one piece in the puzzle. Therefore, Pep Guardiola filled that spot of “the coach’s mouth” in the field. Pep got his chance as the player in the middle of the system, the “classic number 4” has arrived. The spot of Xavi, Busquets and others did not exist before. However, when you see the biggest defensive midfielders of the last decade, you see how much this new spot changed the game. Players like Pep, Frank Rijkaard and more, were based on the Cruyff’s philosophy of “take the Ball, pass the Ball”.
Cruyff’s Barca DNA was based of the “total football” of Rinus Michels and Ajax, but it was a more modern way of playing. Therefore, the titles arrived, and this era marked the “dream team” of Barca, the legendary 4 consecutive league titles. However, what marks this era the most is the club’s first champions cup in 1992.
The continuation of his legacy
Cruyff’s Barca continue to dominate the league,but there were also falls, like the 4-0 loss in the 1994’s Champions League finals. However, when Cruyff left his position in 1996, he was the most successful coach of Barca’s history. In addition, the only coach who achieved more titles than him is his student, Pep Guardiola.
Cruyf was an unusual player, and an unusual coach. He was a visionary, a man of his word, and a legen that our club should and would never forget. 3 years ago, Johan Cruyff lost his battle with cancer, but the Johan Cruyff legacy will live forever.