Guillermo Amor reflects on the passing of his former Head Coach at FC Barcelona, Johan Cruyff, who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 68.
Adelaide United Head Coach, Guillermo Amor, was a product of FC Barcelona just as much as he was a product of Johan Cruyff’s teachings.
In 1988, Cruyff became the Head Coach of Barcelona, following his three-year managerial tenure at his childhood club, Ajax, before the Dutchman handed Amor his professional debut for arguably the world’s greatest football club.
“When Johan arrived at Barcelona I was playing in the Club’s second team, but after that he took me to be part of his first team,” Amor said.
“He pushed me to work harder and to be better and he showed me how to love Total Football.
“Together, we went on to play wonderful football and we played with many amazing ideas.”
Amor was part of Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’, renowned for their incredibly dominant football that saw them clinch four successive La Liga titles between 1991 and 1994. Amor’s role in the squad was so crucial that in the La Liga winning side of 1993/94, the dynamic midfielder only missed one match. Amor was also part of the 1991/92 European Cup winning side and scored in their 1990 Copa del Rey Final win over Real Madrid.
But Cruyff not only transformed Barcelona into a European powerhouse, he revolutionised the Club, introducing the football methodologies that remain influential in countless football clubs around the world.
“Johan changed the mentality, the philosophy, and the style of Barcelona, and the club experienced some of the greatest successes while he was associated with it,” Amor continued.
“He brought a winning mentality to the club, one that was based on having confidence in your abilities and trusting your teammates.
“The way he looked at football was simple, but with his coaching he would always take risks. He did this because he wanted what was best for his team and because he believed offensive football was the best kind of football.
“One of these risks was with me, I feel.
“As a young player playing at a club like Barça, you work so hard for opportunities and you wonder if they will ever come. Johan gave me my opportunity and together we made the most of it.”
What Cruyff taught Amor, though, wasn’t only restricted to just playing football, the Spaniard saying that Cruyff’s love for the game was infectious. Amor also admitted he has tried to implement similar methods to Cruyff’s with the Reds ever since he became the Club’s Head Coach.
“As I am a coach now, many of the things I am trying to do are things Johan did with me and my teammates at Barça,” he said.
“Our football style, here at Adelaide, is similar to Barcelona and so is our mentality. These things are important in football and we want to follow his teachings and his philosophy because of how incredible it is.
“Johan would join in with us at training and everything he did was spectacular and this was one of the best ways he taught us how to play.
“In training, everyday, I learned so much from him, but most of all just his love for football. He loved the game and he loved to speak about football, everything was about football and this passion translated through us when we played.
“This is something we are doing well here, too.”
Whilst Cruyff’s passing has been felt massively throughout the footballing world, the void it has left within Amor is as substantial as any, Amor stating that while there were many influences on his career and his life, Cruyff’s was one of the most significant.
“Johan was a very important person to so many people around the world. He has changed so many people’s lives and he has improved the football world so much.
“For me, Johan was a father figure not just in football, but in life. He taught me so many wonderful things that I will always remember and cherish, and in each important moment in my playing career, he was there for me.
“There was no one like him.
“I send my love to his entire family, people I know are going through a very tough time right now. My thoughts are with them and I send them big hugs.
“It was not his time and he was far too young. But he was the type of person that might have gone, but he will always remain with us and he will always be remembered.
“Johan, I will never forget you. Thank you for everything.”