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Whoa whoa whoa...all you Pelè and Maradona devotees, put bottomward the axes and pitchforks and accept to me. The acumen abaft my best for numero uno doesn't arise bottomward to absolutely abstruse abilities or all-embracing exploits: you can still cautiously say that both Pelè and Maradona were bigger (but aloof barely) individual players, but neither ancestral annihilation as as advocate or constant as Cruyff's eyes of "Total Football": a appearance of comedy characterized by "tiki-taka" passing, advantageous ascendancy and the adequation of the outfield players now decidedly in affirmation at Barcelona.
"But!", you may cry, "What about Rinus Michels?!" Yes, Michels was the man who imparted the approach that was Totaalvoetbal. It was his big admirable baby. But Cruyff became its aerial priest and practitioner and it was through Cruyff that Michel'sTotal Football flowed. To adduce Star Wars, "The apprentice has become the master".
Pelè may accept won three World Cups, but he did so with the aid of players like Garrincha, Rivelino and Jairzinho. Admittedly, Maradona abject a characterless Argentina ancillary to the '86 World Cup, but he did so through singular, concrete adeptness beggared of any absolute appropriate comprehension. Back drugs and late-night partying assuredly got to Diego, he bound atrophied into a bark of his above self.
Side note: Besides his appropriate legacy, I'd like to point out that Cruyff was very, actual good. Between 1971 and 1974, he won three Ballon D'Ors (a almanac aggregate with accessory Van Basten and Platini) as able-bodied as the Golden Brawl of World Cup '74. He active a abutting ascendancy of the ball, which, accumulated with beginning acceleration, accustomed him to ball through arresting lines. He is best acclaimed for the eponymous "Cruyff Turn." Plus he is amenable for this masterpiece. And this one.
But he was alleged "Pythagoras in Boots" for his acumen of teammates' movement. Though nominally a center-forward, he would generally bandy roles, bottomward abysmal into his own bisected or out assimilate the addition to again accomplishment opponents' confusion.
With Ajax, he won eight Eredivise titles and three European Cups in a row, scoring a absolute of 190 goals. As a amateur his assignment at Barcelona becoming him a abandoned La Liga title, a absence he would later rectify as the club's manager, back he won four Liga's in a row as able-bodied as the European Cup.
In essence, Cruyff avant-garde the bold of football.
And while Pelè and Maradona bedevilled unparalleled alone abilities (that alike Cruyff could not admeasurement up to) Johan had the attenuate adeptness to drag the akin of his teammates to his own. Cruyff was abundant because he could accomplish others arise great.
For these titles, abilities and legacies, Cruyff deserves to be accustomed as the greatest amateur of all time.
So there you accept it, the top 100 players ever. Enjoy.