Football is simple, but the hardest thing there is, is to play simple football– Johann Cruyff.
In the Netherlands in the late sixties there was a revival of the theory of total football. The idea was to build a team in which all of the players had equal levels of technical ability and physical strength. In its execution it meant that all the players were capable, at any point in a game, of switching into each other’s roles as circumstances demanded.
From this era of total football, Cruyff was the total footballer- As a Dutch international, Cruyff, played 48 matches, scoring 33 goals, he led Ajax to three consecutive European Cups (1971, 72, 73) and was personally named European Footballer of the Year on 3 Occasions (1971, 73, 74).
Cruyff’s ‘special one’ status was reinforced by his image- whilst his Netherlands team mates wore the standard adidas jersey (three black stripes on the sleeve) Cruyff’s number 14 shirt always only had two black stripes.