The legend of Barcelona, Johan Cruyff was awarded with the 2013 UEFA President’s Award as a way to recognize his achievements in revolutionizing how the Dutch superstar has influenced the sport in both of his roles as a player and a coach.
The UEFA president, Michael Platini was the person that gave Cruyff the award and the former player of Barcelona later stated that it is one of the highest accolades that you can get.
“It is a great privilege for me to present the UEFA President’s Award to Johan Cruyff, one of the truly great footballers and ambassadors for the game. First as a player and then as a coach, he was committed to entertaining the public with his own unique brand of football.” Those were the words that Platini used to describe Cruyff as he was giving the former Dutch player, the prestigious award.
Cruyff stepped up and received the award by saying:
“Here’s Amsterdam where it started. I’m really proud to have received this award. This is one of the highest accolades you can get. It’s unique when you think of players like Beckenbauer and Di Stefáno and all these players who have had a huge impact in their countries, and the fact that you are part of that is amazing.”
Alfredo Di Stefano, Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Charlton, Raymond Kopa, Gianni Rivera and Eusebio are some of the other previous winners of the award. Some of the highlights of Cruyff’s playing career are when he won 4 consecutive La Liga titles with Barcelona and when named into the dream team of the Catalan club.
The 66 years old tactician has also set up the Johan Cruyff Foundation which helps improve the lives of mentally as well as physically challenged children.