The Creator of The Dream Team
During his heyday as a player, Johan Cruyff was the epitome of a total footballer. But while Cruyff was arguably the greatest player of his generation (and the greatest European football ever), he could only achieve moderate success as a Barca player.
During his five-year stay with FC Barcelona he could only lead the Blaugrana to one La Liga and one Copa del Rey trophy.
His second spell in Catalunya, this time as a manager, would prove to be far more productive and glorious. As a genuine student of Michels, Cruyff would improve the ideas of his mentor in his first engagement as a manager of - quite fittingly - Ajax Amsterdam.
Like Michels, Cruyff would also leave Amsterdam for the managerial hot-seat of FC Barcelona. But unlike his predecessor, Cruyff’s tenure as manager was an unprecedented success.
Under Cruyff’s stewardship and fully committed to his interpretation of Total Football, the Blaugrana would win every club competition besides the International Cup (now: FIFA Club World Cup).
He would lead Barca to its first ever European Cup (now. UEFA Champions League), and two EC Cup finals in total (the other one being a 4-0 trashing at the hands of the other Super-Team of the 90s, AC Milan).
One prominent member of that AC Milan team, Frank Rijkaard, was another product of the fabled Ajax Amsterdam youth system. Rijkaard himself had played under the management of Cruyff, just like Cruyff did under Michels.
And because history has a way of repeating itself, Rijkaard would eventually manage FC Barcelona, at the behest of Johan Cruyff, which was a rather odd circumstance since the player Rijkaard vowed to never play under Cruyff during their shared time in Amsterdam.