If you just know a little about football (or soccer, however you want to call it) you definitely heard about Johan Cruyff before. The Dutch football legend is mostly known for his success with the “dream teams” of Ajax Amsterdam and the FC Barcelona. Also for the well-known Total Football which still influences modern tactics in football. Throughout his career, he won the Ballon D’Or three times and was voted the best European player in the 20th century. The great sportsman, who also worked as a coach after his active career passed away in 2016. Shortly after that sad message his book My Turn: The Autobiography was released worldwide. Definitely, Johan had an interesting career and some inspiring minds about the world, especially in aspects of soccer. But is the book worth a read? You will hopefully find out in this book review
Who should read My Turn: The Autobiography?
I wish all questions in life would be as easy as this one. If you are interested in football, especially the tactical side, this book is a clear recommendation. Cruyff is a fanatic, talks about football whenever possible and clearly has an outstanding knowledge. In fact, Cruyff is not highly educated but got most of his success by searching for proper solutions when there was a problem or something to improve. Also was he one of the rare sportsmen that still loved the classic, offensive way of playing the game. Such as Ajax in the past and Barcelona today. Winning was not everything for him – but winning in an attractive way.
There is only one ball, so you need to have it.
That quote is so short and still says a lot about Johan’s mindset in case of football. His team needs the ball, dominate the opponent and control the game. He believes that you have the biggest chances to win like that and additionally will get the fans behind you. Everybody loves attractive football.
So far the books sound like a must-buy for every fan of beautiful football. I wouldn’t agree with that. To be honest I enjoyed other autobiographies much more. For example, I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Quiet Leadership: Winning Hearts, Minds and Matches which provide, in my opinion, much more interesting stories and value to the reader. And from my point of view, that is the mistake of the writer, because Cruyff’s story is far away from being boring. However, sometimes I felt lost in the pages and didn’t really want to continue. I don’t say the book is bad, but it is definitely not a masterpiece too. Let’s come to my biggest criticism about My Turn: The Autobiography. There are a lot of quotes from Johan used in the book, and sometimes they are just too much. But decide for yourself.
There’s no one in football who knows more about tactics, technique and youth training than I do, so why are you debating with me? It’s utterly pointless and you’ll only do it wrong, so listen to me, benefit from it. How big must your ego be if you can’t see that?
I don’t want to argue that Cruyff has no idea about football. He is clearly a genius and has a lot of knowledge. But why do you need to say things like that? I really don’t like that behavior. Anyway, Johan was, what I didn’t know before reading the book, really engaged in the support of disabled people, which you can’t appreciate enough. Overall I liked the book, and you don’t go wrong if you decide to buy it.
The Fourteen Rules of Johan Cruyff
At the end of the book, Johan shares his “14 Rules” which I really liked. So I just share them with you hear, leaving some space for your own thoughts.
1 Team player
To accomplish things, you have to do it together.
Take good care of things as if it was your own.
Respect one another.
Involve others in your activities.
Dare to try something new.
Always help each other within a team.
8 Social Involvement
Crucial in sports, and even more so in life in general.
Know what to do.
Sports develop body and soul.
Try to learn something new every day.
13 Play Together
An essential part of the game.
The beauty of sports.