Johan Cruijff would have turned 75 this year, but today, six years ago, the best football player the Netherlands has ever known died. Son Jordi is today a sporting advisor to FC Barcelona, where he is trying to pull the Catalan superpower out of the doldrums. The voice of father Johan is never far away: ,,I’m sure he would be positive about the future of Barcelona.”
As the son of a football legend, it’s never easy to break free from your father. Just ask Jordi Cruyff. Yet the son of the late Johan Cruijff is less and less burdened by the burden of his father’s inheritance, he says in an interview with the Daily Mail† Cruijff has nothing but praise for his father: “He always saw the positive in everything, even in the most difficult moments he remained an optimist.”
That is why the sports adviser of Barcelona thinks that his father had held out a bright future for Barcelona. The Barcelona legend (it’s not for nothing that the stadium where the second team of FC Barcelona plays is called the ‘Estadi Johan Cruyff’) still leaves his mark today, not least because of the presence of his son.
Cruyff junior is doing well. Three players were taken out of the Premier League during this transfer window and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in particular has been a success so far. El Clásico was won big (visiting league-leader Real Madrid, the Catalans humiliated the Royals 4-0) and the two of the new acquisitions (besides Aubameyang also Ferran Torres) played a crucial role in that victory.
,,If it goes well, you are relieved,” said Cruijff in a style that is reminiscent of statements that senior regularly made, “but you are dependent on others. Especially if you buy players when the deadline is approaching, it can be nerve-wracking, because you no longer have alternatives. We were very relieved when everything worked out.”
Even after thirty years in the football world, Cruijff has not lost his passion for the game. This can be clearly seen in his collection of more than 600 shirts. “I have one from George Best, one from Pele and of course several from my father.”
Speaking of Johan: Jordi sees no problem in guarding his father’s legacy. ,,Not at all. Maybe it was difficult when I was a kid because everyone always wanted something from him and I thought, ‘Leave him alone, that’s my father’.”
“But now I think it’s all fantastic. Wherever I go, people ask how I am doing and tell anecdotes about my father. Everyone has a different story. Older people remember him as a player, younger people as a trainer and the younger generation knows him from his movements, which they have seen on old images. That way he is still very much alive.”
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