Football legend Cruyff dies of cancer

Barcelona, March 24 (IANS) Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff, who was diagnosed with lung cancer, died here on Thursday at the age of 68.

In October last year, Cruyff announced he had lung cancer. One month later he said he was convinced “he could win the battle”, reports Xinhua.

“Johan Cruyff peacefully died in Barcelona, surrounded by his family after a hard fought battle with cancer,” his website stated.

“It’s with great sadness that we ask you to respect the privacy of the family during their time of grief.”

Cruyff made name as a player in the early 1970s with AFC Ajax, winning three European Champions Cups (1971, 1972, 1973) and the Intercontinental Cup in 1972.

In 1974 he led the Netherlands to the World Cup final with an attacking style of play, called “Total Football”. He continued his playing career at FC Barcelona, winning the Spanish title in his first season, Los Angeles Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Levante, Ajax again, to end his career at Feyenoord Rotterdam.

After his playing career, Cruyff became a successful coach at Ajax and FC Barcelona. With Ajax he claimed the European Cup Winners Cup in 1987 and he led Barcelona to a period of great success with among other trophy’s four league titles and their first European Champions Cup in 1992 with the so-called “Dream Team”.

He put an end to his coaching career in 1996, but never stopped expressing his vision on his loves Ajax, FC Barcelona and the Dutch national team.

Cruyff used to be a heavy smoker until 1991. After he was diagnosed with atherosclerosis at the age of 44 he had to undergo a bypass operation and quit smoking instantly.

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