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Ajax, Barcelona, Cruyff Paperback – 18 Feb 1999
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Johan Cruyff stands among the elite in the pantheon of football's greats. Perhaps, only Pelé ever surpassed him. And that is arguable. Ajax Barcelona Cruyff constitutes a collection of interviews with Holland's greatest ever player conducted by Dutch journalists Barend and Van Dorp. Most of the conversations transcribed here touch on the issues which followed Cruyff throughout his successful career as player and coach, both with Ajax of Amsterdam, and Barcelona. The authors refer to Cruyff as an obstinate maestro, an impression certainly evident in the text. However, it is also undeniably clear that under the surface remains a man who cares, with perhaps unparalleled insight into the mechanics of football and of modern footballers themselves. While Cruyff's view of his numerous disputes with coaches, chairmen, players, journalists and just about anyone else willing to argue, are well-aired here, and provide another perspective on an already well-documented career, the most intriguing dialogue deals with tactical matters. This provides elementary reading for anyone thinking about the game today. Few, if any, players have had such an impact on the tactical side of modern football. As the innovator responsible for the total football played thrillingly by the Dutch in the 1970s, Cruyff passes comment on Dutch masters past and present such as Van Basten, Koeman, Rijkaard and Bergkamp. When the interviews turn to Cruyff's own playing systems, the Dutch superstar's comments seem at once revelationary and simplistic. Unintentionally, this superb book could have become as essential as any ever written on football tactics. Meanwhile, it stands as a tour de force in its own right. --Trevor Crowe
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Top customer reviews
His insights into football (especially as manager of the great Barcelona side centre round Koemans) are enlightening. His pieces as a player give a flavour of a different era that seems almost as far away now as that of Stanley Matthews - did players really play in finals with injuries?
Scarely less controversial than Brian Clough, but technically more perfect. I thought I'd just read through each interview now and then but I ended up devouring it in one sitting. A good read.
After reading the whole book, i discovered a man with a very rare sense of reality. It's not easy to understand what Johan says, his speech is puzzling and sometimes daunting.
He's a man scarce in words, but sometimes one word says it all. In some points i got confused because it seems the English translation is not natural enough.
This might be attributable to the fact that the answers of Johan Cruyff are so enigmatic even in his mother tongue, that they become difficult to translate in English.
I recommend it for the football lovers and the Dutch fanatics.
The book gave insight into Ajax's football philosophy and heritage. Some of the controversies are touched on (but certainly nort all! ). The petulant nature of the "Dutch Master" comes out nice and clearly. Overall if you're interested in Dutch football it's a great read.
The only fault in the bookis that some of the characters talked about are within the inner workings of Dutch football and a non Dutch reader will be left from time to time wondering how it all fits together.
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The style of the book is the complete opposite to the man himself.Read more
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