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Football Legend Johan Cruyff Passes Away

Thu 24th Mar 2016 | Football Club Management

Johan Cruyff has passed away at the age of 68 following a long battle with lung cancer.

A simple statement posted on his website, read: “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.”

Cruyff, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2015, was named European footballer of the year three times and won three consecutive European Cups with Ajax from 1971.

He was instrumental in helping the Netherlands reach the 1974 World Cup final only to be beaten by West Germany 2-1. As a coach he guided FC Barcelona to their first European Cup in 1992.

News of his death has seen tributes pour in from across the football world. "The death of Johan Cruyff affects all of us, all football lovers and hence the whole KNVB," said Bert van Oostveen, General Secretary and CEO professional football at Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB).

"We are saddened by the passing of a phenomenon that is unprecedented in football in our country, in the world.

“We sympathize with his family. Johan was and is indisputably the greatest player in Dutch football.

“In 1974 he was the exponent of total football introduced by Rinus Michels. Cruyff was compelling in his game, a great trainer and inspiring as a critic on the sidelines.”

A statement by Ajax, for whom Cruyff played 240 times scoring 190 goals, read: “Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and loved ones.”

Arguably Cruyff’s biggest impact in the game came during his time at FC Barcelona as both a player and coach. Expressing their sadness of the news, the club said: “Cruyff arrived at the club in August 1973 from Ajax, renowned as one of the best players in the world. Barça soon began to reap the rewards as the Dutch magician helped Barça to the league title in his first season, and went on to win his second and third Ballon d’Or. With his intelligent play, superb technique and leadership, he quickly became an icon for Barça.

“His acrobatic strike against Atlético Madrid and the 5-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu in 1974, among many other great moments, will live long in the memory of Barça fans. In 1978, after winning the Copa del Rey, Cruyff left the club.

“Ten years later, however, he would return as manager. He was in the dugout for eight seasons, during which time he led the club through its most successful ever period up until that point.

“He won four consecutive league titles and guided the club to its first ever European Cup in May 1992 at Wembley, among other successes. He formed the side that would go onto be known as the legendary ‘Dream Team’, a team that amazed everyone with their extraordinary style.

“In 1996, he left the Barça bench, and in 1999 was chosen as the player of the century in Europe. He was a figure actively involved with Catalonia too, and in September 2006, the Government of Catalonia awarded him with the Cross of St. George, and he later became the manager of the Catalan national football team.”

Cruyff will be remembered as one of football’s true greats. “Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is.” Johann Cruyff 1947 - 2016

Image: Action Images / Carl Recine

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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