When Johan Cruyff died in 2016, the football world mourned, and none more than two clubs, Ajax and Barcelona. As a player, he helped catapult Ajax from one of the top sides in the Netherlands to the top side in Europe, at least for a few years.
He did this as a player, who’s brilliance and understanding of the game ushered in Total Football, and began to reshape the game as we know it.
At Barcelona, he pushed the envelope as a player, helping to bring Barça back from the dark ages, but not totally into the light. That would come more than a decade later as manager, when Barça announced itself as one of the elite teams.
But maybe his greatest influence on the Catalan club came with the ideas that he instilled in others – the counsel he gave to Joan Laporta, the tutelage he provided to Pep Guardiola, and the unwavering principles that destroyed relationships, divided a fan base, but helped build one of the greatest teams ever assembled.