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Cruyff's Sweet 60th

Thanks to Insider loyalist Ralph for reminding me that today is the incomparable Johan Cruyff's 60th birthday. In honor of the occasion -- and the one-and-a-half seasons he spent at RFK Stadium in 1980-81 as a member of the Washington Diplomats -- I dug up a breathtaking highlight film of El Flaco (Twisted Sister provides the soundtrack -- no joke) and a vintage clip from Channel 9 with the late Glenn Brenner, Frank Herzog and Sonny Jurgensen. Looks like a promo from "Anchorman" -- stay classy, San Diego!

Enjoy. By the way, The Post's beat writer during Cruyff's stay: John Feinstein.

By Steve Goff  |  April 25, 2007; 12:05 PM ET
Categories:  World  
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Ahhh, we sports reporters were real men!


Posted by: Darth Hater | April 25, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Fan-frackin'-tastic! I grew up going to Dips games in my youth. And Team America (World Police). Even the sorry Washington Stars games at WT Woodson HS (Star Man, I'm sorry for all the times I tripped you).

Didn't recall that Cruyff had that ridiculous scoop/rainbow effect shot. Unbelievable stuff!

Posted by: Shmoo | April 25, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Great clips. I'm mad I hadn't seen some of those Cruyff highlights before and somehow you were able to find somebody who had unearthed some before unseen clips of Cruyff from a hidden vault. If Tupac can have a new album every year, Cruyff can have more highlights. Gotta love those ol' TV9 Eyewitness Sports shows.

Posted by: sitruc | April 25, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

He even did some of those Cruyff Turns. Where did the Cruyff Turn get its name anyway?

Posted by: bribri | April 25, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Great stuff...brought back some wonderfull memories...Any clips on his Dips period?
1980 Goal of the year against the Sounders is a classic.

Posted by: trongen | April 25, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I'll never forget sitting in the upper deck watching him weave his magic. Good times...

Posted by: Chico | April 25, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see the goal Cruyff scored against the Toronto Blizzard in 1981? He must have scored it from 45 yards out. It was a treat to see someone with so much talent at RFK. I think Etcheverry has been the best player since Cruyff to wear a DC uniform.

Posted by: Ralph | April 25, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the clip Steve.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | April 25, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff, really good stuff. Although it was for the wrong side, too bad there wasn't a highlight of the goal Cruyff scored for the LA Aztecs (with Rinus Michels as coach and Wim Rijbergen as a teammate) where he went from outside midfield on a solo run, beat Jim Steele of the Washington Diplomats and scored the winning goal to eliminate the Dips from the playoffs. A heartbreaker but a beautiful goal none-the-less.

Posted by: JoeW | April 25, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I remember that goal in '81, the goalie was cheating out at the top of the box, acting like a field general I guess, only to get burned by that improbable shot from Johan, which just showed his knowledge of the game and depth of vision.
There was also a great playoff game against the Cosmos in NY, and I remember him attacking on the left wing near the edge of the box...and as several defenders surrounded him, he made these moves with the ball that literally caused them to collide into each other like keystone cops in a Chaplin was amazing.
I also remember Cruyff smoking cigarettes in RFK locker room talking to reporters after the games...what a rebel! None like him since...

Posted by: MikeB | April 25, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"Cruyff steps up to take the freekick...WHAMMY!"

Posted by: EdTheRed | April 25, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Best Penalty Kick ever.

Posted by: Tweaked | April 25, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

It has been many years, so maybe my memory is faulty but that goal Johan scored against the Dips if I remember was a suddent death overtime goal in the playoffs. And the play began with a corner kick for the Dips, Cruyff takes the ball from outside his penalty area and weaves through 5-6 players before scoring the goal. If someone could get that on You-Tube, it would be something else.

Then there were the memorable goals he scored for the Diplomats. I remember one where he takes a cross in front of the goal and instead of heading it in, he traps it on his chest and walks it into the goal as if the ball was velcroed to his chest. Another where he started his run at midfield, darted several players and put the ball into the corner of the net. That was a great summer.

Happy 60th Johan!

Posted by: Falc | April 25, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Of course, Cruyff is magic, but the defenders seem like lamp posts. Can soccer eras be compared? Baseball players are often judged within the context of their own eras. But if football is timeless because of the laws of the game, can we legitimately compare Cruyff to C. Ronaldo, for example? Or the defenders they face? Of course, I'm not going to say that CR is better than JC, but is it possible to say that the defenders are better now than they were then?

Posted by: fckalihi | April 25, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Interesting to me how the pace of the game has changed. Cruff looked like we was running past defenders standing still, but seemed like a snail compared to that highlight of Messi-donna last week.

That PK was absolutely NUTS. Why even try it, except for a good highlight reel.

Posted by: Greg | April 25, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

"That PK was absolutely NUTS. Why even try it..."

Because no-one expects it.

Posted by: The Spanish Inquisition | April 25, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Is Cruyff in the ring of fame or billboard of fame or whatever it's called at RFK now?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"Is Cruyff in the ring of fame or billboard of fame or whatever it's called at RFK now?

Posted by: | April 25, 2007 04:36 PM"

He used to be, when there was a ring of Washington, DC sports heroes around the mezzanine at RFK. I don't believe his name is on the banner that hangs on the right-field wall. If it is, I haven't seen it.

Posted by: Winoman | April 25, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

What are the chances Moreno to Gomez on that penalty kick? That is nutz!

Posted by: gomez4prez | April 25, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

And am I the only one who misses Glenn Brenner like nobody's business? God, those were the days for a lot of us. Heroes like Elvin Hayes, Rod Langway, Cruyff and Bill Irwin, Warner Wolf eclipsed by Brenner. (I loved Warner but he was more than replaced by Glenn.) I still could jam basketballs...

Posted by: DocWoo | April 25, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

"What are the chances Moreno to Gomez on that penalty kick? That is nutz!"

It would be so sweet to save that for a team we really hate, e.g., Cobi's last game, a foul by CJ Brown, point at Tino afterwards.

Posted by: DocWoo | April 25, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Those of you who think today's defenders would make a difference, did you see what Kaka did to Manchester United yesterday. Cruyff would make today's defenders look even more foolish than he did in his day. Check out this YouTube link:

At the 3:24 mark, it has one of the goals I described above that he scored for the Dips. Fantastic.

Posted by: Falc | April 25, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey Falc, you made my day. Thanks for sharing the goal from the game against Seattle. Perhaps the Saudi goal against Belgium in WC94 was the best ever scored at RFK, but Cruyff's wasn't far off.

Posted by: Ralph | April 25, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I meant to include the link for the Saudi goal. Here it is:

Posted by: Ralph | April 25, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Ralph - I was at that WC match. I was sitting behind the opposite goal. I still think that Cruyff's goal against the Diplomats when he was with the Aztecs was better. Would love to come across that highlight reel.

BTW, Johan was on the ring of fame but is not on the banner as someone stated above.

And a friend of mine sent me this link:

In it, it discusses the PK:

The Penalty incident - Scored against Helmond Sport in 1982 playing for Ajax, Cruyff puts the ball down as if it is a routine penalty kick, instead Cruyff nudges the ball to his Ajax teammate Jesper Olsen who in return passes it back to Cruyff who simply taps the ball into the empty net, as the bemused Helmond goalkeeper looks on. [12] This goal was famously attempted by Arsenal team mates Robert Pires and Thierry Henry, who both failed miserably against Manchester City in 2005, still Cruyff defended Henry and Pires for attempting [13]

Posted by: Falc | April 26, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

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