Johan Cruyff

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Amsterdam Arena will become Johan Cruyff Arena next season

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Amsterdam Arena has a date for its previously announced name change to honor Dutch hero Johan Cruyff.

Ajax announced that its home stadium will be called Johan Cruyff Arena beginning with the 2018-19 season, honoring the footballer who captured the imagination of the world in the 1970s with his creative play.

Cruyff passed away in 2016 at the age of 68.

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Ajax says it will unveil the stadium’s new logo on April 25 to celebrate what would have been Cruyff’s 71st birthday. Cruyff scored 368 goals in his career, spent mostly with Ajax and Barcelona but including stops in LA, Washington, Levante, and Feyenoord. He later managed Ajax, Barcelona, and Catalonia.

The club looks set to finish second in the Eredivisie this season, currently seven points back of PSV Eindhoven and five ahead of AZ Alkmaar. Ajax does play both rivals over the season’s final weeks.

Ajax’s home stadium to be named after Johan Cruyff

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AMSTERDAM (AP) On the day Johan Cruyff would have turned 70, his home city has agreed to name Ajax’s stadium after the Dutch football great.

Amsterdam Municipality says it has agreed with the stadium and Ajax to change the name of the Amsterdam Arena to the Johan Cruijff Arena – using the Dutch spelling of the Ajax and Barcelona star, who died last year.

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Ajax, the stadium’s board and Amsterdam say they “want to pay a worthy tribute to the best footballer Amsterdam and the Netherlands have ever known.”

The agreement announced Tuesday is expected to be finalized within six months.

Born in Amsterdam, Cruyff was the mercurial driving force behind Ajax and Dutch “total football” in the early 1970s. He went on to become a highly successful player and coach at Barcelona.

Barcelona plan Cruyff tribute at club’s training center

Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) One year after his death, Barcelona says it will name the future stadium at its training center after Dutch great Johan Cruyff.

The new stadium at Barcelona’s training center just outside the Catalan city will be called “Johan Cruyff Stadium” in honor of the club’s former player and coach.

Barcelona says in a statement that “the most emblematic building in the facility where future Barca players are coached is to be named after somebody who played such a central role in fostering youth talent at the club.”

Barcelona also says it will commission a “commemorative sculpture” of Cruyff, who died of lung cancer on March 24 last year at age 68. The statue will be placed at Barcelona’s main Camp Nou stadium.

Cruyff is largely credited with launching Barcelona’s era of trophy success, both as a player and a coach.

As a player, Cruyff joined Barcelona midseason in 1973 and led the middle-of-the-table team to its first national title in a decade.

He later returned as a coach and guided Barcelona to four consecutive Spanish leagues from 1991-94 and the club’s first European Cup in 1992.

“I think the tributes are very warming,” said Cruyff’s son, Jordi Cruyff. “It sort of changes the sadness that we might feel as family to lose a father, a husband and a grandfather. It changes to a certain kind of pride to understand that he left something behind.”

VIDEO & PHOTOS: Fans march from Cruyff’s boyhood home to Ajax stadium

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It’s been 10 days since the passing of Johan Cruyff, and the tributes for the late, great Dutch legend continue to roll in still daily at this point.

[ MORE: Why Cruyff was the most influential man in soccer history ]

No club and its supporters will have felt a stronger bond and greater loss than Ajax, Cruyff’s boyhood club for whom he went on to score more than 200 goals in nearly 300 games over 12 seasons.

Sunday, when Ajax played their first home game since Cruyff’s death, was bound to be a deeply emotional, retrospective day in the Dutch capital, and it most certainly was — from the AP:

An estimated 4,000 fans gathered before the match near the house in Amsterdam where Cruyff grew up and marched to the Amsterdam Arena stadium, where three giant banners shaped like the shirts of Ajax, Barcelona and the Netherlands, were laid on the pitch.

If you haven’t got goosebumps and/or tears welling up in your eyes after watching that, chances are you haven’t got a pulse either. A further look at the simultaneously somber and celebratory scenes in Amsterdam on Sunday…

Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen, who played six seasons at Ajax from 2006 to 2012 was on hand as well.

Long live the legend.

VIDEO: Barcelona’s players, manager pay respects to Johan Cruyff

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The soccer world continues to mourn the loss of Johan Cruyff, as the Dutch legend died last week at the age of 68.

Cruyff was arguably the greatest influence on the modern game as we know it and the blueprint he perfected at Barcelona has led the the club he used to play for and manage to great success over the last decade in particular.

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Tributes have continued to pour in across the world with the Netherlands paying tribute to him last Friday in their friendly game in Amsterdam against France.

A memorial has been set up at Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium has now seen over 50,000 people visit it in the past four days.

[ MORE: Why Cruyff was most influential ever ]

On Tuesday the Barcelona first team held a minute’s silence before training and then visited the memorial along with manager Luis Enrique.

A former Barcelona midfielder, Enrique, who led Barca to the treble last season, led the moving tribute to Cruyff.

“I think speaking about Cruyff is speaking about football in its maximum expression,” Enrique said. “First as a player, becoming one of the greatest players of all time. Second as a coach, seeing football in a completely different way, a spectacular way. Playing great football with great results and titles. It’s a huge loss for the world of football but especially for all the teams and players who had the opportunity to play with him. Barca is a big example of that.

“I think he has left a great legacy, one that this club will continue. I don’t have any doubt. We will try to keep copying and improving his style of play, which is related not just to results but attacking football. We all support the family in these moments as close as possible. He is a person we all remember and may he rest in peace.”

Click play in the video above to see Barca’s current players paying their respects to Cruyff, plus watch Enrique’s emotional address.

Johan’s son, Jordi, also addressed the memorial and thanked the club for the way in which they’ve paid tribute to his father as people travel from all over to pay their own respects to Cruyff.

Barcelona has revealed extensive plans to honor Cruyff at the El Clasico this Saturday at the Nou Camp where they take on arch rivals Real Madrid.