Johan Cruyff: the American diaries

Johan Cruyff’s impact on football was far-reaching to say the least. His influence on the game in the Netherlands and Spain has been rightly lauded, and his role in the revolutionary Total Football of the 1970s and his moments of incomparable brilliance on the pitch are incomparable. Few would dispute that Cruyff was more to…

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The Netherlands Magazine

No country has given more to the modern game than the Netherlands and no single city has given more than Amsterdam. Simply put, it’s a nation that has reinvented, redefined and reshaped football as we know it. It’s also a history that is rich beyond just the names we know so well; the likes of…

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The renaissance of Ajax, a superclub back on the map

Pareidolia – the perceiving of familiarity where none exists – is a more common psychological phenomenon than you might think. Frequently reported examples include; finding images in cloud formations, visualising a man on the moon, and hearing recognisable voices in random noise. In Amsterdam last Wednesday, several thousand Ajax fans were dealt a severe case.…

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Can a Dutch club win the Champions League again?

The goal was scrappy. Patrick Kluivert, on as a late substitute, slipped and stumbled through the penalty area before somehow stabbing the ball home. With five minutes remaining, Ajax were ahead in the 1995 Champions League final. AC Milan, their stunned opponents, could hardly muster a response. The seconds seeped away. The whistle was blown. Louis…

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How Amsterdam changed the world of football forever

On the outskirts of the city, where Stadionweg meets Amstelveenseweg, and new apartment complexes are thrown up to the backdrop of the Oud Zuid neighbourhood, there sits an unassuming sports complex. Obstructing the view of the stadium is a decidedly ugly and square building. It previously housed a Citroën garage and showrooms, but is now home to one of those annoyingly…

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The allure of the rondo

Call is Piggy in the Middle, 3v1, 5v2, 5v5+2 or any variation where a numerically superior group of players has the ball and a smaller group of players tries to win the ball back. Great players do this with precise and frenetic one-touch passes to someone else, creating dizzying pinball-like combinations and working those in the…

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