Johan Cruyff runs onto the field for the Washington Diplomats in the NASL. In issue one of XI Quarterly, Pieter van Os and Leander Schaerlaeckens explore how his experiences with the team in 1980 and 1981 changed the Dutch legend forever:
Legendarily hubristic, cocksure, singularly combative and ruthless, Cruyff was forever embroiled in power struggles or embarking on ideological crusades. If his talent for manipulating a ball and orchestrating an offense was immense, it was (and is) dwarfed by his capacity for inciting conflict and playing mind games.
But the Dips didn’t know any of that yet. In 1980, all they knew was that they’d landed the player considered one of the greatest of all time for his second season in the now-defunct North American Soccer League.