1. Johan Cruyff
Position: Attacking Midfield
Rarely will a footballer leave a legacy as endearing as Johan Cruyff’s.
The Dutchman began his career with Ajax after being promoted from their reputed youth academy. Under the tutelage of master tactician Rinus Michels, Cruyff developed his own rendition of total football which he perfected during his playing career spanning two decades. The only footballer in this list to have been awarded the Ballon d’Or (that too, thrice), Cruyff terrorized defences throughout with Ajax and won the Eredivisie an incredible eight times in nine years across two spells. He also won the European Cup three times in succession with the club before leaving for Barcelona where his love affair with Catalonia began. Johan won the La Liga and the Copa del Rey with the club before departing for the United States for a brief stint. After a season at Levante in the Spanish Segunda, Johann returned to his beloved Ajax to win the Eredivisie twice before winning more silverware with Feyenoord Rotterdam.
A masterful dribbler, Johan laid great emphasis on the technical intricacies of the game. His passing and vision were second to none and proved pivotal in developing his rendition of ‘Total Football’ that made Ajax and the Netherlands famous all over the world. Indeed, his performances in the 1974 World Cup, which the Netherlands lost to West Germany, reached out to Dutch hearts in a manner that simply cannot be replicated.
To put it in a nutshell, Johan Cruyff will forever be remembered as one of the best players the world has ever seen.