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By ESPN Staff

Violent assault kept Cruyff from 1978 World Cup

MADRID, April 16 (Reuters) - Former Dutch international Johan Cruyff said a violent assault in his home influenced his decision not to play at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

"To play a World Cup you have to be 200 percent," Cruyff told Catalunya Radio on Tuesday. "Someone came and pointed a rifle at my head and tied up my wife while the children were in the flat.

"There are times when there are more important things in life... For four months my home was watched by the police and my children had to be protected when they went to school."

Cruyff's decision to retire from international football before the tournament in which Netherlands lost 3-1 in the final to hosts Argentina has been widely attributed to a reaction against the country's military dictatorship.

The former European player of the year, who played for Barcelona between 1973 and 1978, was responding to accusations in a book by former team mate Carles Rexach about his poor form in his final season at the club.

Cruyff won the league in 1974 and the Cup in 1978 before later steering Barcelona to four successive league titles as coach between 1991 and 1994.