Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff has sadly passed away aged 68 after a battle with cancer.

  • By Michael Bell
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cruyff evThe former Ajax and Barcelona great was diagnosed with lung cancer back in October last year, and sadly it was announced that Cruyff had lost the battle on Thursday.

A statement from his family 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.”

Regarded as the greatest player Netherlands, and Europe has ever produced Cruyff guided Ajax to three straight European Cups in the early 1970’s and scored 190 goals in 240 games before moving to Barcelona in 1973. The winger guided the Catalan’s to their first La Liga title in his first season of a five year spell in Spain. Cruyff’s career then took him to America and Levante before he returned to Ajax, and finished his playing days at rivals Feyenoord. Cruyff also captained Netherlands to the World Cup final in 1974, before they were edged out by West Germany.

As a coach Cruyff managed Ajax and Barcelona, winning the Spanish side their first European Cup in 1992. Cruyff retired in 1996, but briefly returned to the touchline to coach Catalonia.

During his career, Cruyff 293 goals in 521 appearances for five different clubs and was awarded the Ballon D’or on three occasions. He also netted 33 goals in 48 international games for Netherlands. His most memorable moment came in 1974 when the winger invented the Cruyff turn against Sweden.

A statement from the KNVB read, “With great sadness we learned of the death of Johan Cruyff. Words can hardly be found for this huge loss.”

“The greatest Dutch footballer of all time and one of the world’s best ever. Our condolences go to his wife, family, friends and the entire football world at home and abroad. We wish everyone a lot of strength in this difficult time.”

The KNVB also announced that there will be a minute silence held during the 14th minute of Netherlands friendly with France on Friday.

R.I.P Johan Cruyff: You changed football forever and will never be forgotten. 

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