15-9-1951: Dutch midfielder Johan Neesken was born on this day in 1951.
Ajax‘s legendary trainer Rinus Michels spotted Neeskens playing for his home town team RCH Heemstede. He moved to Ajax in 1970. Neesksens played at right back in the 1971 European Cup victory over Panathinaikos. He later played in midfield and central defence for Ajax who went on to complete a hat-trick of European Cup wins. In 1972 they won 2-0 over Inter and in 1973 1-0 over Juventus.
In 1974 Neeskens was reunited with Cruyff and Michels at Barcelona. Together they won the 1978 Cup Winners’ Cup final (4-3 against German Fortuna Düsseldorf).
In 1979 he moved to New York Cosmos in the NASL and played together with Beckenbauer and Pele.
He was a member of the Dutch national team that lost the 1974 (West Germnay) and 1978 (Argentina) World Cup Finals. The 1974 World Cup was a show case for the Dutch total football team with Neeskens, Krol, Rep and Cruyff at its heart. Neeksens scored five goals including a second minute penalty in the final. On the way to the final they beat both Argentina (4-0) and Brazil (2-0).
Today Neeskens is Frank Rijkaard’s assistant at Barcelona.