Johan Neeskens, Rijkaard's technical assistant at Barcelona and the Netherlands, retired as manager in 2012. / Jose VargasPhoto: JOSE VARGAS ESGUER
Johan Neeskens, Rijkaard’s technical assistant at Barcelona and the Netherlands, retired as manager in 2012. / Jose Vargas
Photo: JOSE VARGAS ESGUERRA
The other Johan. The engine of the Clockwork Orange, runner-up in the 74 and 78 World Cups. Also of that three-time European champion Ajax, after Barcelona, a team he arrived at at the religious request of Cruyff… he was his right-hand man. The bravest pitbull in the pack of him to jump into the pressure. A “total” midfielder with an unusual commitment to recover the ball and class to keep it, reach the area and shoot in the days when the specialists in football ran out: everyone attacked, everyone defended.
That was Johan Neeskens, the man who best embodied that philosophy of Rinus Michels of “harassing the rival without respite or respite to recover the ball and not give up the initiative at any price with two basic requirements: an unwavering fighting spirit and physical preparation. perfect, without which the system collapses. All 10 players push forward.” It never melted.