I was 10 years old. An avid Feyenoord fan. So I hated Ajax. And I hated Cruijff for being the genius within and behind that golden Ajax team. Cruijff. A genius. I watched the sunday sports program on TV. January 2nd, 1972. Ajax played the away match against ADO. Ajax was 1 – 0 behind. Then Cruijff received a long pass from defender Krol. Cruijff one-touched the ball, in one flow ran after it and with a second touch curved it over keeper Ton Thie. I was disgusted. Bloody Ajax and bloody Cruijff did it again. Cruijff was a genius. I could see that. But he played for the wrong team.
It took a long, long time … But finally my hatred melted away.
Cruijff, in his last season as professional soccer player played for Feyenoord. To make some point. Maybe he did make a point to me. Where I saw 2 teams, Cruijff only saw 1 game. The great game of soccer. Cruijff showed that soccer is what matters, not which side you are on. Cruijff choose the other team, the sworn enemy. He played for Feyenoord, and made them champion that season. It was utter brilliance. I cheered for Feyenoord. But Cruijff had showed me soccer.
My hatred was gone. And I started to love the genius Cruijff.