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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/11/2022

ADDENDUM: Please read updates in italics below.

In a 1999 poll by International Federation of Football History & Statistics, Johan Cruyff was voted European Player of the Century and came in second behind only Pelé as World Player of the Century. The Amsterdam-born icon who predominantly played center forward or attacking midfielder began his professional career at Dutch powerhouse Ajax where he made #14 famous, winning eight Eredivisie titles and three European Cups. In 1973 he moved to FC Barcelona where he led the Catalan giant to a La Liga title in his first season and earned European Footballer of the Year honors. Cruyff won the Ballon d'Or three times (1971, ‘73 & ’74) – tied with the most ever until Lionel Messi passed him in 2012 – and took Netherlands to the 1974 FIFA World Cup Final, receiving the Golden Ball as player of the tournament.

In 1978 he followed Pelé to the U.S. where he initially flirted with joining the Brazil legend’s former North American Soccer League (NASL) club, the New York Cosmos. He ended up signing with the Los Angeles Aztecs in 1979, but before doing so, the Dutch legend played in a few exhibition matches for the Cosmos. Presented here is an exceptionally rare New York Cosmos jersey from the beginning of Johan Cruyff’s tenure in the NASL.

In the summer of 1977, Cruyff briefly trained with the Cosmos during his final offseason with Barca. A year later, when his Barca contract had expired, he appeared in three official exhibition matches for the Cosmos all played at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands: first against the World All-Stars on August 30, 1978; second vs. Boca Juniors (Diego Maradona’s famed Argentine club) on September 9; and third vs. Chelsea of the Premier League on Sept. 26th. The Cosmos wore this long-sleeved style in a 2-2 draw vs. the World All-Stars, with Cruyff assisting on a goal. Johan may have worn this shirt in the first half of that contest, but most images we could find were from the second half or the end of the match with him in a shirt showing slight differences on the back numbers and letters. Cruyff did not sign with the Aztecs until May 22, 1979, and it's unclear whether he played in other exhibition or unofficial matches he with the Cosmos in the preceding eight months.

This white long-sleeved shirt, a popular style among soccer collectors, features the classic, colorful Cosmos crest stitched into the left chest with three yellow stars on its right. The V-neck collar and both sleeve ends are trimmed in green with a yellow stripe. The No. “30” that Cruyff briefly sported is sewn on the right sleeve with a much larger "30" and “CRUYFF” on the back, all done in green outlined in yellow. Tagged inside the collar by Brazil manufacturer Athleta of Sao Paulo, the shirt displays evident wear throughout (described as heavy by MEARS) with brown spotting that could be attributed to unwashed soiling or discoloration from storage and age.

The provenance of this shirt adds to its prestige. It was gifted by Cruyff to Brazilian midfielder Caju, who left Brazil at the tail end of his pro career to play with the California Surf in the NASL where he competed against Cryuff head-to-head. Caju, a formidable member of the Brazil National Team for over a decade (1967-77), has signed a letter of provenance in Portuguese. Also included is the MEARS authentication paperwork, which clarifies a clerical error/typo on Caju’s letter regarding the year of the jersey.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $400
Final prices include buyers premium.: $1,517
Number Bids:11
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