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Mondial tales.. Armed robbery deprives the Golden Ball holder of the World Cup

Mondial tales.. Armed robbery deprives the Golden Ball holder of the World Cup

The 2022 World Cup will witness the absence of Frenchman Karim Benzema, who was crowned the Golden Ball for the best player in the world for this year, from the roosters squad due to injury.

And the book of stories about the World Cup recorded an incident similar to that of the 1978 edition of the World Cup, which was missed by Danish Alan Simonsen, who was crowned with the Golden Ball in 1977, presented by France Football magazine, due to his country’s non-participation in the tournament.

But it is also strange that the 1978 World Cup itself witnessed the absence of the player crowned with the Golden Ball as the best player in the previous version of the World Cup, presented by FIFA, the legendary Dutchman Johan Cruyff.

The absence of Johan Cruyff from the World Cup held in Argentina was a strange story, which Al Ain Sports presents in the following lines with its readers, as part of a series of World Cup stories.

Netherlands national team and the 1978 World Cup

Johan Cruyff led the Netherlands national team to qualify for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, after successfully leading the windmills during the qualifiers for the tournament, presenting a distinguished performance, making the fans wish the team to break the jinx that required it in the 1974 final, and to crown the title in this version for the first time in its history.

But during the mills’ preparations to travel to the tournament, Cruyff surprisingly announced his retirement from international football, and that he would not be able to travel to Argentina with his colleagues in the Netherlands national team to participate in the World Cup.

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Cruyff refused to participate in the 1978 World Cup, it was said at the time that the reason for his refusal was the dictatorial policies that characterized the ruling regime in Argentina, the host of the tournament, which prompted the entire Netherlands national team, along with several other teams, to consider withdrawing from the tournament.

It was also said that the Barcelona legend, Spain, at the time received threats to him and his family from Argentine authorities of kidnapping and killing if he traveled to their country and participated in the tournament, as it was said at the time that all conditions were being prepared for the crowning of tango dancers for the title, including an attempt to weaken their most prominent competitors in any way.

But what Cruyff announced afterwards was otherwise, as he confirmed that the reason was that his house in Barcelona had been subjected to armed robbery and an attempted kidnapping before the date of travel to the tournament, as several armed men entered his home at night and tied him up with his family members, which caused him a psychological crisis that prompted him to announce international retirement.

Cruyff’s withdrawal from the Netherlands squad certainly affected the national team of the mills in the tournament, especially in the first group stage, but it did not prevent him from reaching the second round and continuing his career until the final match.

The Netherlands collided with Argentina, the hosts, in the final match of the 1978 World Cup, which was accompanied by a lot of tension and controversial decisions, and its original time ended in a 1-1 draw, before the landowners decided it in extra time with a score of 3-1, so that the final millers team lost the final for the second time in a row to the owner of Earth.

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It is noteworthy that the Netherlands national team, led by Cruyff, lost the 1974 World Cup final against Germany, 1-2, before the matter was repeated in 1978, and then 32 years later in the 2010 World Cup that was held in South Africa, after losing in the final against Spain 0-1.