Johan Cruyff was one of the greatest footballers of all time, a worldwide phenomenon and arguably the most famous Dutchman of the 20th century. As a player on the pitch and later as a coach off the pitch, his brand of total football added a whole new dimension to the international game.
However, although he led a large part of his illustrious career and life in the spotlight, in many ways Cruyff the man and sportsman is still a complete mystery. This compellingly written biography, based on years of extensive research, is the first to describe all aspects of Johan Cruyff’s life and work, from his key influence in the great Ajax and Netherlands sides of the 1970s to his role in creating the modern footballing phenomenon that is Barcelona. Using countless unique documents and drawing on hundreds of interviews with friends from his childhood and school, coaches, teammates, on-pitch opponents, business associates and family members, Auke Kok has written the definitive biography of the rascal, son, family man, footballer, manager, football philosopher and commercial pioneer that was Johan Cruyff.
Cruyff’s life reads like a boys’ own story, the working-class boy who grew up to become a global phenomenon. Reading Johan Cruyff: Always on the Attack will reveal the true Cruyff, how he shaped his enormous influence as a ‘total footballer’, and how the brilliant yet initially shy and skinny Cruyff would acquire a reputation as an innovator, know-it-all and brawler, as well as a source of inspiration for millions the world over.
Auke Kok is a historian, writer, journalist and columnist. He has written several bestsellers in the Netherlands and has been nominated for and won a number of prizes, with his most recent book, 1936. We went to Berlin, named Sports Book of the Year 2017. Like the ‘total football’ of the heroes of Dutch team who reached the World Cup final in 1974, he is often called a ‘total writer’, regarded by Kok as the best possible compliment.
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