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About The Book

'This terrific biography...well-researched, well written' David Winner
'Deeply researched...nicely written, and manages to get inside Cruyff's very bizarre head' Simon Kuper

Argumentative, brilliant, arrogant, visionary. Johan Cruyff was one of the greatest footballers of all time, a worldwide phenomenon and arguably the most famous Dutchman of the twentieth century. Both on the pitch and from the sidelines as a coach, with his brand of Total Football he changed how the game was played and left a lasting legacy.

Although Cruyff led a large part of his illustrious career and life in the spotlight, in many ways Cruyff the man and sportsman is still a complete mystery. Based on years of extensive research, this biography the first to cover all aspects of Cruyff’s life and work, from his key influence in the great Ajax and Netherlands sides of the 1970s to his role in creating the modern footballing phenomenon that is Barcelona.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews with friends from his childhood and school, coaches, teammates, on-pitch opponents, business associates and family members, Auke Kok has written the definitive biography of the skinny impish street footballer that became the genius player, inspirational manager, football philosopher and commercial pioneer that was Johan Cruyff.

About The Author

Auke Kok is a historian, writer, journalist and columnist. He has written several bestsellers in the Netherlands and has been nominated for and won a number of prizes, with his most recent book, 1936. We went to Berlin, named Sports Book of the Year 2017. Like the ‘total football’ of the heroes of Dutch team who reached the World Cup final in 1974, he is often called a ‘total writer’, regarded by Kok as the best possible compliment.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (June 9, 2022)
  • Length: 544 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781398501652

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Raves and Reviews

'This terrific biography... Since his death, [Cruyff's] status had grown to that of a demi-god in both Amsterdam and Barcelona, but as Auke Kok’s well-researched, well-written book reveals, he was troubled and sulphurous, too. Kok is one of the Netherlands’ most respected journalists, and his Cruyff emerges as a vulnerable, isolated and often tragic figure... Kok provides any number of revealing insights into his original thinking and methods.'

– David Winner, author of Brilliant Orange, Irish Independent

'Deeply researched...nicely written, and manages to get inside Cruyff's very bizarre head'

– Simon Kuper, author of Football Against the Enemy and Barca

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