Following a difficult period for Barcelona football club, in 1988, a man who had provided inspiration in the past, by being the footballer he was, was burdened with the responsibility of bringing about positive change.
That man was no other than the Flying Dutchman, Johan Cruyff.
On the field, Cruyff was the reason the Netherlands’ national team played “total football." He would often move freely on the field, and total football allowed for his teammates to adjust to his movements. And he would always yell orders on where a player is supposed to be positioned and when to move.
As a manager, the very same vision he possessed was to give birth to a football side of Barcelona that was branded “The Dream Team”—a side that would forever change the direction the club would go.
Under Cruyff, Barcelona became a hugely successful blend of home-grown and proven international players dancing under the tune of their visionary manager.
The tune would later be called “tiki-taka," a branch of the “total football” school.
Players like Josep Guardiola, Albert Ferrer, Txiki Begiristain, Hristo Stoichkov, Romario, Michael Laudrup and Ronald Koeman seized their fortune to gain the status of club heroes.
Between 1990 and 1994, four consecutive La Liga titles were won. Pillage in the form of three trophies from European conquests also travelled to adorn the Barcelona trophy halls. The Copa Del Rey was won in 1990 and the European Supercup in 1992, along with three Supercopa de Espana between 1990 and 1994.
Eleven trophies in total stretched over an eight-year long period of Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona tenure (but the accomplishments were really achieved inside five years; in the other three, Cruyff didn’t win anything). The Dutchman broke the records for the club’s longest serving and most-successful manager.
In the later part of his career, past glory could not cancel out two years of trophy-drought, and in 1996, the club’s president relieved Johan Cruyff from his position.
His legacy though would have a much longer effect than expected. His “Dream Team” had already done what it was supposed to do: shape the mentality of the club to one of winners.