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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.
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Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff has said that it is disappointing to know that either Cristiano Ronaldo or Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss the chance to be at the World Cup 2014. Portugal and Sweden have been paired against each other in the play-off round for the World Cup. Only one of the team will be present in the finals, which means that either one of the superstars will have to watch the tournament on television. Cruyff has stated that he would rather prefer to see Ronaldo at the World Cup, although he is disappointed to see one of the miss out on the tournament.
Cruyff has said that the playing abilities are not responsible for his decision to pick Ronaldo, but it is the political influences that made him choose the player who plays in Spain. Cruyff is currently living in Spain after a spectacular career that saw him manage Barcelona. Cruyff is responsible for introducing the style of football that Barcelona are known for around the world. New manager Gerardo Martino has been attempting to change the style of play, and so far he has been successful in that regard.
“It is a huge blow for the World Cup that one of these two players won’t make it. It”s a sad situation. I don’t really have a preference between the two of them, but if I had to make a choice I would rather see Ronaldo qualify. That’s a bit of a political decision though, as I live in Spain. They’re different types of players. I have criticised both of them in the past because I think they should behave like role models,” said the former Barcelona manager.
Barcelona are top of the table with a three-point advantage over Atletico Madrid and a six-point advantage over Real Madrid. Ronaldo is the favourite to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or award this season.
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Former Holland international Johan Cruyff has said that the national team should improve their performance significantly if they are to do well at the 2014 World Cup. Holland have become one of the first nations to qualify for the World Cup after securing a 2-0 win over Andorra in the qualifiers. Italy are the only other team from Europe to have made it to the World Cup at this stage itself. Despite this, Cruyff thinks that the team would struggle at the World Cup if they do not improve their performance, while he also sees the lack of experience is a major problem.
Holland made it to the finals of the 2010 World Cup, but since then they have been very disappointing. The appointment of Louis van Gaal, though, appears to have made the team a little better when it comes to getting results. Of course, they have qualified for the World Cup in stunning fashion, but the real test of the team will come at the World Cup when there are only top teams involved. Brazil will be one of the favourites to win the competition being the home team. The likes of Spain and Italy will also be mentioned as possible favourites.
Cruyff is regarded as one of the best Dutch players ever and he has won numerous FIFA Ballon d’Or awards.
“If this [level] continues we will be lucky to survive the group stage [at the World Cup]. There is a lack of experience. Take, for example, Brazil and think about at the Confederations Cup. Those Brazilians in Brazil will slaughter us unless we are able to stand up in a footballing way. There is one year left. In the past we have kept things at a high level, and the last time we were in the finals. Let’s hope that this generation can match that,” said Cruyff.
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