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Sunday, 27 January 2013

Johan Cruyff - All Time Hero of Dutch Football

Name Johan Hendrikus Cruijff
Born 25 april 1947 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Position Forward, Attacking Midfielder
Caps 48 (33 goals)
Clubs Ajax, FC Barcelona, Los Angeles Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Levante, Feyenoord
As a manager Johan Cruyff was active for Ajax and Barcelona
Trophies Ajax
1x Intercontinental Cup (1972)
3x European Cup (1971, 1972, 1973)
2x European Super Cup (1972, 1973)
8x Dutch Championship (1966, '67, '68, '70, '72, '73, '82, '83)
4x Dutch Cup (1967, 1971, 1972, 1983)
Barcelona
1x Spanish Championship (1974)
1x Spanish Cup (1978)
Feyenoord
1x Dutch Championship (1984)
1x Dutch Cup (1984)
As a manager Johan Cruyff won the European Cup (1992), the European Cup Winners Cup (1989), four Spanish Championships (1991, '92, '93, '94), and the Spanish Cup (1992) with Barcelona, and the European Cup Winners Cup (1987) and two Dutch Cups (1986, 1987) with Ajax
Honours 3x European Footballer of the Year (1971, 1973, 1974)
1x IFFHS European Player of the Century                                                                                                                        
 - Biography -                                                                          
 Johan Cruyff, or Cruijff as the name is actualy spelt, was the star of the exciting 1974 Dutch "Total Football" World Cup team and the Ajax Amsterdam team that won a hat-trick of European Cups in the early Seventies. Three times European footballer of the year, Cruyff was the most gifted European player of his generation, and probably of all time.

His supreme technical skills, speed and acceleration, and his tactical insights made Cruyff virtually impossible to defend against. Wearing his trademark Nr.14 jersey, he usually played the centre forward position, but would often drop deep or move to the wing to confuse and draw out his markers. The tremendous tactical insight he had displayed as a player, enabled Cruyff to go on to become a world class coach after hanging up his boots in 1984.

Johan Cruijff in action against Argentina during the 1974 World Cup
Johan Cruyff in action against Argentina during the 1974 World Cup

Building on the legacy of his mentor Rinus Michels, Cruyff proved himself the most unrelenting apostle of attacking football in the history of the game. Possession of the ball played a crucial part in his football philosophy. Cruyff abhorred the overly physical game that was dominant in the 1980's. He instructed his players not to go running mindlessly up and down the pitch, but to concentrate on combination play and let the ball do the work instead.

El Salvador - Johan Cruijff arguing with Spanish authorities
El Salvador: Johan Cruyff arguing with Spanish authorities

He began his coaching career at Ajax, but it was at Barcelona that his revolutionary vision of a free flowing attacking style of football came to real fruition when he assembled a team that included Michael Laudrup, Hristo Stoichkov, Ronald Koeman and Josep Guardiola. Fondly remembered by Catalonians as the 'Dream Team', they succeeded in winning a host of domestic trophies as well as the 1992 European Cup.                                                                                                                                                                                                          
- League Matches -

Season
Club
Country
Matches
Goals
1983 - 1984
Feyenoord
Holland
33
11
1982 - 1983
Ajax
Holland
21
7
1981 - 1982
Ajax
Holland
15
7
1981
Washington Diplomats
United States
5
2
1980 - 1981
Levante
Spain
10
2
1980
Washington Diplomats
United States
27
10
1979
Los Angeles Aztecs
United States
27
14
1977 - 1978
FC Barcelona
Spain
28
5
1976 - 1977
FC Barcelona
Spain
30
14
1975 - 1976
FC Barcelona
Spain
29
6
1974 - 1975
FC Barcelona
Spain
30
7
1973 - 1974
FC Barcelona
Ajax
Spain
Holland
26
2
16
3
1972 - 1973
Ajax
Holland
26
16
1971 - 1972
Ajax
Holland
32
25
1970 - 1971
Ajax
Holland
25
21
1969 - 1970
Ajax
Holland
33
23
1968 - 1969
Ajax
Holland
29
24
1967 - 1968
Ajax
Holland
33
27
1966 - 1967
Ajax
Holland
30
33
1965 - 1966
Ajax
Holland
19
16
1964 - 1965
Ajax
Holland
10
4
Total:
520
293
                                                                                 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Pele the foot ball hero

Name Edson Arantes do Nascimento 
Born 23 october 1940 (São Paulo, Brazil)
Position Striker
Caps 91 (77 goals)
Clubs Santos, New York Cosmos
Trophies Brazil
3x World Champion (1958, 1962, 1970)
Santos
2x Intercontinental Cup (1962, 1963)
2x Copa Libertadores (1962, 1963)
6x Brazilian Champion (1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1968)
New York Cosmos
1x U.S. Champion (1977)
Honours 1x IFFHS Player of theCentury                                    

                                                    - Biography -
Ask football fans to name the best ever footballer, and chances are they will come up with the name Pelé, even if they are too young to have ever seen him play. It speaks volumes about the strength of the legend that has sprung up around the famous Brazilian forward. Does that mean the choice is unfounded? Not really. With three World Cups to his name, and a total career tally of more than twelve hundred goals, there can be no doubting Pelé's pedigree.

Pelé was born under the name Edson Arantes do Nascimento in the village Três Corações, the son of a footballer known as Dondinho, who's career was thwarted by a bad knee. He grew up in poverty in the town of Bauru in the province of São Paulo. As a boy Pelé helped alleviate the family's financials woes by cleaning shoes at the local train station.He started playing football in the streets, using a stocking stuffed with rags and paper as a ball. In 1954 Pelé was picked to play in the newly founded youth team of the club his father had played for, Bauru Athletic Club. Things were handled professionally, Pelé received a playing fee and the team was coached by the former Brazilian international Waldemar de Brito, who played for Brazil during the 1934 World Cup.

In school Pelé performed abysmally, and was held back three times, but on the football field his star was rising. It wasn't long before clubs started to show an interest in the talented young striker. Following the advice of Waldemar de Brito, Pelé opted to join Santos CF, a successful football club from the coastal town of the same name. Santos played in the Paulista, the league centred around São Paulo. Pelé played his first official for Santos at the age of sixteen.That year he immediately made his mark, scoring 36 goals in 29 matches. The next season Pelé was even more impressive, scoring 58 goals in 38 matches.

Pele going past an opponent during the 1958 World Cup
Pelé going past an opponent during the 1958 World Cup

His overwhelming debut as a professional footballer quickly resulted in a place in the Brazilian national team and a spot in the seleção for the 1958 World Cup. A knee injury prevented him form participating in the first two games of the tournament, but in the final match of the group stage, against the Soviet Union, Pelé made his World Cup debut. He failed to score a goal in that game, but in the matches that followed the young forward asserted himself. He scored the only goal in the quarter final match against Wales, a hat-trick in the semi final against France, and two more goals in the final against Sweden. Aged seventeen, he was (and is) the youngest World Cup winner in history.

Pelé was quick, strong, a good header and dribbler of the ball, but above all, he possessed a powerful and accurate strike in both legs. The avalanche of goals he produced for Santos, where he teamed up with fellow internationals like Zito and Carlos Alberto, helped the club win a string of trophies. They won the Brazilian national championship, the Taça Brasil, five times in a row, from 1961 to 1965. In 1962 and 1963 the club won the Copa Libertadores, followed both times by victory in the Intercontinental Cup, beating Eusebio's Benfica and Gianni Rivera's AC Milan respectively.
There was little joy for Pelé at World Cups in the 1960's. In 1962 he was injured out of the tournament early on, and had to watch as a spectator how his team-mates successfully defended their title, with Garincha playing the starring role in his absence. In 1966 the World Cup ended in a bitter disappointment, as the reigning champions crashed out in the group stage of the tournament. Bitterly disappointed, Pelé decided to end his international career. His retirement from the intentional stage would last for two years, but as the 1970 Wold Cup drew nearer, Pelé, who scored his thousandth goal as a footballer in 1969, changed his mind and returned to the seleção.


Pele in action for the Yellow Canaries
Pelé in action for the Yellow Canaries
He would not live to regret his decision. The 1970 Brazilian national team is regarded by many as the best ever national team. Playing a swinging and attack-minded form of samba-football, they captured Brazil's third World Cup. Starring roles were played by the likes of Carlos Alberto, Gerson, Jairzinho, Tostão, Rivelino, and of course Pelé. In the final of the tournament Italy were hopelessly outclassed and had to concede four goals, in spite of their defensive approach to the game. The emphatic 1970 World Cup triumph gave Pelé to end his international career on a high note. He played his last game for Brazil in the summer of 1971, against Yugoslavia in Rio's Maracanã stadium.

Pele as a football ambassador in the USA
Pele as a football ambassador in the USA

 In 1974, at the age of 34 years old, Pelé decided that the time had come to hang up his boots all together. But his retirement from football would prove to be short lived. A year later Pelé, motivated in part by financial problems he found himself in at the time, decided to come out of retirement. He accepted an offer to join New York Cosmos, one of the clubs that formed the famous North American Soccer League.In the NASL Pelé earned a salary that could only have dreamed about during his years with Santos. He repaid the league by playing the role of goodwill ambassador for football in the United States to perfection.

On October 1st, 1977, in front of a 75,000 strong crowd, Pelé played his last match, a game between New York Cosmos and Santos, with the great man playing a half for each team. This time his retirement as a player would prove permanent. New York Cosmos had won the NASL that year, so that 'O Rei' could leave the club scene just as he had left the international scene, with his head held high. It was the end of a career that, if friendlies are included, saw him score 1283 goals in 1367 matches.After his retirement Pelé has continued playing the role of goodwill ambassador for football. He was also Brazilian minister for Sport for a while.  

- League Matches -

Season
Club
Country
Matches
Goals
1956 - 1957
Santos
Brazil
29
36
1957 - 1958
Santos
Brazil
38
58
1958 - 1959
Santos
Brazil
32
45
1959 - 1960
Santos
Brazil
30
33
1960 - 1961
Santos
Brazil
26
47
1961 - 1962
Santos
Brazil
26
37
1962 - 1963
Santos
Brazil
19
22
1963 - 1964
Santos
Brazil
21
34
1964 - 1965
Santos
Brazil
30
49
1965 - 1966
Santos
Brazil
14
13
1966 - 1967
Santos
Brazil
18
17
1967 - 1968
Santos
Brazil
21
17
1968 - 1969
Santos
Brazil
25
26
1969 - 1970
Santos
Brazil
15
7
1970 - 1971
Santos
Brazil
40
9
1971 - 1972
Santos
Brazil
36
14
1972 - 1973
Santos
Brazil
39
30
1973 - 1974
Santos
Brazil
27
10
1975
New York Cosmos
United States
9
5
1976
New York Cosmos
United States
22
13
1977
New York Cosmos
United States
25
12
 
 
Total:
542
535