Johan Cruyff was a footballing revolutionary as a player and a manager, so there’s no doubt his all-time XI would take some beating.
In his pomp, the Dutchman defined versatility. He could pick the perfect pass while playing in midfield, or could perform up top as he beat defenders and ultimately the goalkeepers with relative ease.
In addition, Cruyff possessed supreme technical ability, tremendous vision and an ability to know exactly where his teammates were as counterattacks came to fruition.
Ultimately, his showings culminated in three European Cup wins, a La Liga title and a whopping nine Eredivisie championships. As well as his tremendous ability on the pitch, he also made his mark in the dugout.
Post-retirement, the legend utilised his unprecedented tactical awareness to become an incredibly successful manager. Rather than adapt his game plan in each match, he’d force the opposition to survive in his world. Of course, the majority of teams couldn’t, and consequently, he’d eat them up like they were caught in shark-infested waters.
During his spell at Barcelona, he revolutionised the ‘total football’ style that has become so synonymous with Camp Nou today. This ultimately led to Cruyff capturing four La Ligas and a European Cup.
Johan Cruyff all-time XI
The icon’s posthumous 2018 autobiography, entitled ‘My Turn’, detailed his personal dream team. Cruyff selected players based on how they’d gel together and, as a result, formed an almost unbeatable side.
Cruyff opted for a four-man defence, which included Franz Beckenbauer in the centre. He was joined by fellow footballing genius Pep Guardiola, although Cruyff wanted both players to step into midfield regularly and play further up the pitch.
Bobby Charlton joined Real Madrid icon Alfredo Di Stefano in the centre of midfield. Cruyff chose that specific pairing because they “fit together well physically”, and would do “extra work” for Brazilian legend Garrincha and Ajax star Piet Keizer out wide.
Furthermore, he had an attack force featuring the two greatest strikers to have ever graced the pitch.
He wrote: “Pele’s enormous sense of responsibility connects nicely with Maradona’s individualism. I know for sure that during the match, Pele would watch over Diego as a kind of guide, because footballers have a perfect sense for that kind of thing. And Maradona would give something back to Pele, which would allow him to be fully appreciated.”
The full team is as follows:
Goalkeeper – Lev Yashin
Defenders – Carlos Alberto, Franz Beckenbauer, Pep Guardiola, Ruud Krol
Midfielders – Garrincha, Alfredo Di Stefano, Bobby Charlton, Piet Keizer
Forwards – Diego Maradona, Pele
Featured Image Credit: Getty