Jordi Cruyff has been appointed sports director of the Maccabi Tel Aviv football team. The former Dutch international midfielder will officially join the Israeli Premier League club, which was a top-flight local team until recent years but has since declined and is currently having a mediocre year, at the end of the season.
Cruyff told Maccabi Tel Aviv’s website: “Maccabi is a special club with a great tradition and I am convinced that with hard work and the right decisions we will develop something that the club and the fans will all be proud of.”
The 38-year-old son of former Dutch international star Johan Cruyff has been technical director at Cypriot club AIK Larnaca for the past two years. His soccer career included spells at FC Barcelona and Manchester United, where he played for four seasons between 1996 and 2000. But he did not quite establish himself as a leading player and never managed to emerge from his father’s shadow.
Johan Cruyff was one of the greatest soccer players of his generation, a skilled, intelligent captain of the Dutch national team of the 1970s who revolutionized the game with a “total football” approach in which players interchanged positions in the course of a game.
Manchester United expert Rob Smyth of The Guardian, told The Times of Israel, however, that Jordi was both an unrealized and under-appreciated talent, saying of his spell at United that “he had a decent first six months, including two goals in his first two games at Old Trafford, but after that he was always injured. Most regarded him as fairly useless, I think, but I always had a soft spot for him as he was clearly pretty good technically. He scored a couple of important goals in the [1998-89] treble season, and also played this lovely pass in a league cup game that year.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv is currently coached by Nir Levine, who took the position on a temporary basis after Motti Ivanir was sacked in December.