/On Soccer: Lingering on the Edge of His Father’s Long Shadow

On Soccer: Lingering on the Edge of His Father’s Long Shadow

It is as though they were in the car together, just the other day. Jordi must remind himself that his father is gone.

Photo

Jordi Cruyff, left, with his father after playing in the UEFA Cup final for Deportivo Alavés in 2001.

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Rex Features via AP Images

Jordi, 42, still carries his father with him; he does not have much choice. He has long been accustomed to the realities of life as the son of a legend who was honored three times as Europe’s best player. “Only later do you realize that he means something bigger,” he said.

In the months since Johan’s death, what he meant to the soccer world has become clear to his son. Jordi’s initial reaction to his private grief was to throw himself into his work as technical director of the Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv. It was, he conceded, an attempt to find distraction.

But there have been reminders at every turn. Along with his mother and sisters, he devoted part of his time to the two nonprofit groups close to his father’s heart, as well as to a series of audio recordings that…

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