This weekend as Ajax face Sc Heerenveen at the Amsterdam Arena, Johan Cruyff will receive the UEFA President’s Award from French legend and current president of UEFA Michel Platini.

  • By Harry Taylor
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cruyff bThe UEFA President’s Award was introduced in 1998 to pay tribute to the achievements of Europe’s greatest players. The purpose of this award is to focus on the true advocates of football and their crucial contribution they have made in their careers to the development of European football.

Previous winners of this prestigious award are players such as, Alfredo Di Stefano, Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Charlton, Raymond Kopa, Gianni Rivera and Eusébio.

Cruyff joined Ajax when he was a just 10 years old, he graduated from the clubs renowned youth academy and went on to enjoy a prominent career. He was part of the club during their most successful times, leading them to great success winning three consecutive European Cups in 1971, 1972 and 1973 as well as a few Eredivisie and KNVB Cups. Cruyff then joined FC Barcelona in 1973, he settled in immediately and helped them win their first Spanish title in 14 years in his first season. In the same year he also won his second Ballon d’Or and then the following year won his third. After spells in America and Spain Cruyff went back to his homeland and played at Ajax for a couple of seasons and then controversially moved to arch rivals Feyenoord.

Cruyff”s career as a coach is arguably as successful as his time as a player, with him winning the UEFA Cup Winners Cup with Ajax and then at Barcelona he formed the clubs famous ‘dream team’ which won 4 consecutive La Liga titles as well as the European Cup. Cruyff has also set up the Johan Cruyff Foundation which sets out to improve the life’s of mentally and physically challenged children.

After hearing he had won the award Cruyff has spoke out with great gratitude.

“It is a great honor for me to receive this award and to be part of this illustrious list of names,”

“I would like to share this recognition with all the people I have worked with, and am still working with, who love the game of football and are willing to invest time and energy into making it better. Not only the game itself, but also the organisation around it, and the important role that football has in society.”

Harry Taylor (30 Posts)