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The total footballer
Around the Academy:

Johan Cruyff in action
Look out keeper - he'll make you look silly!
Johan Cruyff

Ever heard the phrase "total football"?

Put simply, it means all 10 outfield players in a team are comfortable in any position.

So if a defender wants to go on a mazy run towards goal, a midfielder will fill in for him at the back - and stay there.

It may sound crazy, but it was a style of play that made Holland the greatest side of the 1970s.

The brains behind it all was the Dutch captain and Ajax star player - Johan Cruyff.

With two fabulous feet and mesmeric ball skills, Cruyff was at the heart of everything Holland did - literally.

All 15 of their goals in the 1974 World Cup either started or ended with the captain.

Johann Cruyff
The future is orange

Cruyff was mainly an attacking midfielder, but he popped up all over the pitch, conducting some of the most stunning football ever seen.

The Dutch passed the ball so well that opponents sometimes spent minutes without getting a touch!

Cruyff's finest moment was in a group match against Sweden.

With a defender niggling him on the touchline, Cruyff's left foot flicked the ball back behind his own right leg.

The hapless full-back tackled at thin air and ran off in the wrong direction - looking very confused!

The "Cruyff turn" was born. As far as we know, he's the only player to have a trick named after him!

Not for the first time, the hosts West Germany spoiled the party - by narrowly beating the Dutch in the final.

But Cruyff's place in history was assured - as the game's first true total footballer.

Verdict: A pioneer off the pitch and a magician on it. The best player never to win a World Cup.

Football's legends
Diego Maradona
Johan Cruyff
Bobby Moore

Cruyff factfile
Born: Holland, 1947
Caps: 48
Goals: 33
Likely to say: "It's all about the way you use space"
Unlikely to say: "Bagsy not in defence!"

Did you know?
When Holland reached the 1978 World Cup final Cruyff played no part - he boycotted the tournament

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