Dutch legend Johan Cruyff has lost his battle against cancer aged 68. The three time European footballer of the year won three European Cups with Ajax, coached Barcelona to their first European Cup win in 1992 and helped his country reach the 1974 World Cup Final – only to lose out to West Germany in a 2-1 defeat.
Cruyff was diagnosed with Lung Cancer last October, but had the belief that he could beat the horrible disease. Speaking last month, the Dutchman said: “Right now, I have the feeling that I am 2-0 up in the first half of a match that has not finished yet. But I am sure that I will end up winning.”
Sadly he lost his most important game of his life.
A statement on Cruyff’s official website announced: “On March 24 2016 Johan Cruyff (68) died peacefully in Barcelona, surrounded by his family after a hard fought battle with cancer. It’s with great sadness that we ask you to respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.”
Tomorrow night’s friendly between Holland and France will stop after 14 minutes for a minute’s silence to pay tribute to Cruyff – who wore the number 14 jersey as a player.
Cruyff scored 293 goals in 521 appearances for five clubs – 204 of those goals during his two spells with Ajax as he won 18 trophies with the Amsterdam side.
In the 1974 World Cup during a game against Sweden, he debuted the ‘Cruyff turn’ and since then players of all abilities have aspired to perform like the great Dutch master.
As a player with Ajax, he won three European Cups, two European Super Cups, eight Dutch league titles, five Dutch Cups, one Intercontinental Cup and a Super Cup.
At Barcelona, he won one Spanish title and a Spanish Cup. His time at Feyenoord followed and he won a Dutch league title and a Dutch Cup.
As a manager with Ajax he won a European Cup Winners Cup and a Dutch Cup, before his stint at Barcelona produced a European Cup, a European Cup Winners Cup, a European Super Cup, four Spanish league titles, a Spanish Cup and three Spanish Super Cups.