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Category Archives: Cruyff

Lev Yashin– Soviet Union (1954-1970) there have been few challengers to his status as the greatest of all goalkeepers, Yashin was consistent- brave, an athlete and a great stopper.

Cafu– Brazil (1990–2006)** hard to beat and very dangerous going forward.
Franz Beckenbauer– West Germany (1965–1977)* (captain)The Kaiser was solid in defence and his accomplishments as a midfielder led to him practically inventing the role of sweeper. Would win the ball and then set off on marauding runs- box to box.
Marcel Desailly – France (1993–2004)* strong, solid and stylish.
Paolo MaldiniItaly (1988–2002) the greatest of all left backs, period.

Didi– Brazil (1952–1962)** defined the modern midfielder as we know it- lethal from free kicks, combative, incisive passer.
Socrates– Brazil
(1979–1986) superb ball player and an ideal fulcrum.
Zinadine Zidane – France (1994–2006)* the paragon of modern midfield play, tough, skillful and a deadly finisher.

Mané Garrincha– Brazil (1955-1966)**Mané wasn’t always glued to the right touchline- he often cut into the inside right channel and could shoot from range or deliver very telling balls into the danger area.He could head the ball also.
Johann Cruyff– The Netherlands (1966–1978) could have picked him in a number of positions, his finishing alone justifies his place at the centre of a three man attack.
Pelé– Brazil- (1957–1971)*** his range of talents and prolific scoring record cannot be overlooked.

I’m shamelessly nostalgic , so I’ll take any criticisms of the ‘retro’ look of my 11 with a pinch of salt. At first I was concerned that it was a bit right sided (imagine having Cafu overlapping Garrincha!). There is also the argument that Garrincha wouldn’t do much tracking back. Cruyff was also accused of sometimes neglecting the defensive aspect of total football. But the midfield has a solid look to it! and the back four is a mobile and formidable unit. If Beckenbauer moved up into midfield with the ball he was usually moving forward with intent, so any gap left at the back was academic. As I’ve said before- in football there is no right or wrong- only opinion- it’s just a bit of fun.
Enjoy the World Cup!

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I’m breaking my resolution to avoid posts on football during World Cup month: I’ll excuse myself by pointing out there are still 4 days to go…>One of the most futile, frustrating and yet inexhaustibly enjoyable pursuits open to the football lover is the selection of ‘all time greatest’ teams. In football there can be no right or wrong, only opinion, and it is impossible to select such teams given the changes that the game has undergone. Modern players are fitter, the ball is lighter, pitches better, they don’t have to put up with the rough treatment that wash dished out in the past. Modern defensive play is better organised and I believe the general level of individual skill is greater than ever.
I’m not going to commit myself to naming my all time 11 yet, but let’s look at some others.
In 1994 FIFA selected this team, which lined up in a 4-3-3 formation:



Lev Yashin- Soviet Union (1954-1970)
Djalma Santos- Brazil (1952–1968)**
Franz Beckenbauer- West Germany (1965–1977)*
Bobby Moore- England(1962–1973)*
Paul Breitner – West Germany (1971–1982)*
Johann Cruyff- The Netherlands (1966–1978)
Michel Platini – France (1976–1987)

Bobby Charlton – England (1958–1970)*
Mané Garrincha- Brazil (1955-1966)**
Ferenc Puskas – Hungary & Spain (1945–1956/1962)
Pelé- Brazil- (1957–1971)***

At the FIFA World Cup in France 1998 Mastercard got 250 journalists to select their Team of the Century.Again the formation was 4-3-3:

Yashin
Carlos Alberto Torres- Brazil (1964-1977) *
Beckenbauer
Moore
Nilton Santos- Brazil (1949-1963) **

Cruyff
Alfredo di Stefano – Argentina, Columbia, Spain (1947–1949/1949–1954/1954–1962)
Platini
Mané Garrincha
Diego Maradona- Argentina (1977–1994)*
Pelé

In the build up to the 2002 World Cup FIFAworldcup.com selected the following on the basis of online voting by fans:


Yashin
Paolo MaldiniItaly (1988–2002)
Beckenbauer
Roberto CarlosBrazil (1992–2006) *
Roberto BaggioItaly (1988–2004)
Zinadine Zidane – France (1994–2006)*
Platini
Maradona
Romario – Brazil (1987–2005)*

Cruyff
Pelé

Unlike the previous selections, which were quite logical and balanced, this is a crazy set up that would never work in reality. 3-4-3
3 at the back- Maldini on the right? Roberto Carlos
was strong going forward but couldn’t defend, Beckenbauer buried in the middle of a 3 man defence?
4 number 10’s in midfield-
11 great players, but not really a team.
Anyway- Joao Kartoshka will reveal his all time 11 in the near future…


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.