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“Safety risk kept me from going to 1978 World Cup:” Johan Cruyff

SoccerNews in World Cup 16 Apr 2008

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For the first time in almost thirty years, Johan Cruyff admitted that fear was the main reason for his absence at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

Cruyff, who formed a key part in the Netherland’s 1974 World Cup squad that reached the final in Germany, refused to join the national team in Argentina four years later.

Uptil now, rumours had that Cruyff didn’t get permission from his wife Danny after the so called ‘Swimming Pool’ incident in 1974, in which several players were reportedly accompanied by women in a hotel pool.

But this theory has come to an end. According to Cruyff, the main reason for his decision was the safety of his family after a kidnapping-attempt that took place in 1977.

Cruyff revealed that a number of men broke into his home in Barcelona, threatened him and his wife with guns and tied them to chairs. This all with Cruyff’s children watching.

Fortunately, both Cruyff and his wife managed to escape before being transported elsewhere.

For 18 months after the attempt, Cruyff and his family needed protection from a professional bodyguard.

Cruyff told a Catalan radio station that just after this attempt, he did not want to be away from his family for such a long time and preferred to skip the World Cup.

The team did fare well without Cruyff, once again reaching the final where this time they lost out to Argentina.

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