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Johan Neeskens

Full name: Johan Neeskens
Nationality: Dutch
Position: Midfielder
Birth Date: 15.09.1952
Birth Place: Heemstede [Netherlands]
Seasons in Barça: 5
Transfered to Barça from: AFC Ajax Amsterdam
Transfered from Barça to: N.Y. Cosmos

Seasons at the club: 1974-79
Games played: 230
Goals scored: 56

1 Cup Winner's Cup (1978/79)
1 King’s cup (1977/78)

Johannes "Johan" Jacobus Neeskens was born on September 15, 1951 in Heemstede, Holland. Neeskens was a former Dutch football player player and a former assitant manager with FC Barcelona. He was part of the Dutch National team that finished as runner-ups in the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups.

At the request of Guus Hiddink, Neeskens acted as assistant coach for the Dutch national team during the qualifiers and the finals of the 1998 FIFA World Cup. After Hiddink stepped down as national coach after the 1998 FIFA wrorld Cup, he performed the same role during the reign of Frank Rijkaard as national coach up until the end of Euro 2000. He was then appointed as coach of Dutch side NEC Nijmegen leading them to their first European appearance in twenty years in 2003, but was sacked in 2004 because of poor results.

In December 2005, Neeskens was appointed the assistant coach of the Australian national team, once again at the request of Guus Hiddink, who is now the national team manager of the "Socceroos." He worked along side Hiddink and Graham Arnold as part of their 2006 World Cup campaign.

A legendary dutch midfielder, who together with Johan Cruyff were the two icons of the Dutch "total football". The two played together in Ajax Amsterdam and in the Dutch national team, before comming to Barça.

Neeskens played 5 seasons for FC Barcelona before being tempted as many other great players of his time to go to the United States and play in their newly formed league.

Neeskens was a very technically skilled midfielder with lots of flair and determination to play offensively. He also had a very good penatly shot and was the #1 penalty taker for both FC Barcelona and the Dutch national team. Neeskens was known for his cold-blooded penalty kicks. He liked to blast the ball high into the middle of the goal, speculating that the goalie would always dive into a corner and would thus be unable to make the save.

He played for five seasons, between 1974 and 1987, for FC Barcelona always as an undisputed starter, one of the leaders of the team, and the most idolized placer by the culé supporters, who never ceased to chant his name in Camp Now.

He arrived to Barcelona after an explicit request by his countryman, Johan Cruyff, wo had joined the Catalan club a season before, and with the approval of Barcelona’s coach, also a Dutchman, Rinus Michels. He placed a total of 232 official matches with the Catalan club, in which he scored a total of 57 goals. During his time as Barcelinista, he won the Copa del Rey in 1977-1978, as well as the UEFA Cup Winner's Cup in 1978-1979, being one of the heroes of the final game against Fortuna Düsseldorf.

That final was, ironically, his last official game with FC Barcelona. The club decided to let him go in a political decision that upset the fan base greatly. His spot as foreigners was filled by the Danish Allan Simonsen.

After leaving Barcelona he signed for the New Cork Cosmos, and later on for Kansas City in the US league. Later on he returned to his country of birth to play for Groningen and then Boar, which was his last team as active player.

Neeskens did return to the club as Frank Rijkaard's new assistant manager after Ten Cate's departure but was fired along with Rijkaard after the 2007-2008 season.