Balance. Bravery. Skill. Throw in speed of movement, and of thought, and you have a quintessential Johan Cruyff goal.
This image shows the Dutch master, who sadly passed away last week, in his agile, elegant pomp, leaving a goalkeeper and defence trailing in his wake at the 1974 FIFA World Cup™. That keeper was Argentina’s Daniel Carnevali, and this goal was one of two Cruyff scored in a 4-0 victory that, if anything, should have had an even more lopsided scoreline.
And while Ruud Krol and Johnny Rep also found the target in a dazzling, cohesive display of Totaalvoetbal, the opposition knew just who to blame. “It was because of him,” Argentina’s Miguel Brindisi said of Cruyff, “that we were humiliated on the field.”
Of course, amid the pain he inflicted on opposing players, there was the incalculable pleasure Cruyff brought to spectators as he and his brilliant teams reinterpreted and reinvigorated the beautiful game. “We showed the world you could enjoy being a footballer,” reflected the great man himself. “I represented the era which proved that attractive football was enjoyable and successful, and good fun to play too.”
It is for that reason, and many others besides, that Cruyff’s death was mourned so widely, and why his footballing legacy will remain powerful and enduring.
Did you know?
The FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich features major exhibits, all with original items, of every FIFA World Cup to date. Unsurprisingly, Cruyff’s image features prominently in the 1974 showcase.