Johan Cruyff embodied a footballing philosophy that now dominates coaching and playing styles in all the leading club sides around the world. You can dispute whether Cruyff was the greatest player ever—he was certainly one of the top three—but he is undoubtedly the player who single-handedly most changed the nature of the game.
My Turn tells the story of Cruyff's remarkable career, built on the techniques he learned playing in the streets of postwar Amsterdam while hoping to be noticed by the city's most famous club, Ajax. He would eventually inspire that team to eight league championships and three European cups. He won his first of three Ballons d'Or in 1971 at age 24. In 1973, Cruyff was sold to Barcelona for a thenworld-record transfer fee. He led the Catalans to victory in La Liga for the first time since 1960, and went on to leave a lasting mark on Spanish soccer. In the 1974 World Cup, Cruyff propelled the Dutch team to the final for the first time.
Cruyff's lasting influence, however, is not in the medals he won, but in the style of play he epitomized and then applied to the Barcelona and Ajax teams he coached. His vision of Total Football” transformed the way soccer was played, and its dazzling fluidity became the basis of the most admired sides around the world. He was the sport's uncompromising genius on and off the field of play.