Top Five Biggest Controversies In Johan Cruyff’s Career

johan cruyff

This article will tell you about the five biggest controversies in Johan Cruyff’s managerial career

Johan Cruyff, the late Dutch football legend, had an extraordinary playing career and went on to become a highly influential coach. While he was primarily known for his immense contributions to the sport, there were a few controversies that emerged throughout his life.

Despite these controversies, it is important to note that Johan Cruyff’s impact on the game and his contributions to football are highly regarded.

He revolutionized the sport with his technical skills, vision, and tactical understanding, and his influence can be seen in modern football.

Cruyff’s legacy extends beyond the controversies, and he will always be remembered as one of the greatest footballers and football minds of all time.

Here are five notable controversies involving Johan Cruyff.

Departure from Ajax

In 1973, Cruyff’s relationship with Ajax deteriorated, leading to his departure from the club. He had been a key player in the “Total Football” era at Ajax, but conflicts arose between Cruyff and club officials over financial matters and disagreements regarding management decisions. The dispute resulted in his move to Barcelona, marking the end of his initial spell with Ajax. The controversy stirred emotions among fans, with some feeling betrayed by Cruyff’s departure.

Conflict with the Dutch National Team

In 1978, Cruyff said that robbers broke into his Barcelona home and held him and his family hostage while holding a rifle to one of the robbers’ heads.

In Cruyff’s own words, the horrifying encounter altered his outlook on life and was a major contributing factor in his decision to skip Argentina. Cruyff declined to participate with the Dutch national team.

The decision sparked controversy and disappointment among supporters, as Cruyff was regarded as one of the team’s star players.

Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff

He cited concerns about his family’s safety in Argentina due to political tensions as the reason for his withdrawal. However, his absence led to speculation and criticism, with some suggesting other motives behind his decision.

Fall-out with Rinus Michels

Cruyff’s relationship with his former coach at Ajax and the Dutch national team, Rinus Michels, became strained during their time together.

The clash between the two strong personalities was particularly evident during their tenure at Barcelona. Cruyff publicly criticized Michels’ coaching methods, and their differences eventually led to Cruyff’s departure from the club.

The conflict between Cruyff and Michels highlighted the clash of egos and differing football philosophies.

Conflict With Adidas

Johan Cruyff, during his time at Ajax, had a sponsorship deal with Puma, while Ajax had a kit sponsorship agreement with Adidas.

Cruyff’s refusal to wear the Adidas jersey with three stripes led to a conflict between him and the sportswear manufacturer.

Eventually, a compromise was reached, and Ajax introduced a special jersey for Cruyff that featured only two stripes instead of the usual three.

Also Read: 10 Greatest Players In Barcelona History

This allowed Cruyff to honor his sponsorship agreement with Puma while still representing Ajax. The situation was resolved, and Cruyff continued to play for Ajax, wearing the customized two-stripe jersey.

Criticism of Ajax’s Management

In his later years, Cruyff became a vocal critic of the management at Ajax, the club where he had achieved great success as a player and coach.

He openly expressed his dissatisfaction with the direction of the club and its youth development system. Cruyff called for changes in the club’s structure and criticized decisions made by the board and coaching staff. His public criticism sparked debates and divisions among fans and officials.