The Dutch master was ahead of his time both on and off the pitch and was cunning enough to cash in on his brilliance when he signed an exclusive sponsorship deal with Puma.
There was a problem, though. The Dutch Football Association were donning that lovely Adidas kit at the 1974 World Cup – the one with the three stripes on its sleeves.
Cruyff, in his equally beautiful Puma Kings, was unwilling to wear a rivals’ logo and such was his power, his bosses bowed down and let him play with two stripes on his shoulders and arms.
They also let him wear no.14 at a time when the squad was numbered alphabetically; meaning number one should have been on his back.
And it was a good thing the Dutch FA did as Cruyff asked because it was his artistry that inspired the Netherlands to the final where they narrowly lost to hosts West Germany.
Sadly, this was Cruyff’s only appearance at a World Cup as horrific circumstances forced him to stay away from the tournament in Argentina four years later.
In 2008, he told Radio Cataluyna he had been the victim of a kidnap attempt while playing for Barcelona months before the finals and a fear for his family’s safety was the reason for his no show in 1978.
“I had a rifle at my head, I was tied up, my wife tied up, the children were in the apartment in Barcelona," he said.
Although he did not reveal how the ordeal came to an end, the aftermath saw a police escort to school for his kids and Cruyff travelling to games with a bodyguard.
He would have been 31 at Argentina ’78 and could well have made the difference as the Netherlands again made it to the final, but were beaten by the host nation once more.
“There are moments when there are other values in life,” he added.
Cruyff always had his own mind, done things his way and it's why, when news of his death surfaced, there was a huge outpouring of grief.
This Dutch maverick brought so much joy to football fans.
Like on Facebook