Netherlands great, Cruyff, dies of cancer aged 68

(FILES) This file photo taken on June 13, 2012 shows Dutch former football player Johan Cruyff looking on at a training session of Mexican team Chivas in Guadalajara on June 13, 2012. Johan Cruyff, one of the greatest footballers in history, died on March 24, 2016 at the age of 68 after losing his battle with cancer, it was announced on his official Twitter account. / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO AND -

(FILES) This file photo taken on June 13, 2012 shows<br />Dutch former football player Johan Cruyff looking on at a training session of Mexican team Chivas in Guadalajara on June 13, 2012.<br />Johan Cruyff, one of the greatest footballers in history, died on March 24, 2016 at the age of 68 after losing his battle with cancer, it was announced on his official Twitter account. / AFP / HECTOR GUERRERO AND –

Netherlands footballing great, Johan Cruyff, has died of cancer aged 68.

Cruyff, who made his name as a forward with Ajax and Barcelona, was European footballer of the year three times.

He won three consecutive European Cups with Ajax from 1971, coached Barcelona to their first European Cup triumph in 1992 and helped the Dutch reach 1974 World Cup final, where they lost 2-1 to West Germany.

The Dutch FA said: “Words can hardly be found for this huge loss.”

It added that Cruyff was the “greatest Dutch footballer of all time and one of the world’s best ever” and wished everyone “a lot of strength in this difficult time”.

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands said the country had “lost a unique and brilliant sportsman”.

He added: “He was a Dutch icon. He belonged to us all.”

Holland’s friendly against France today will stop after 14 minutes for a minute-long silence in tribute to Cruyff, who wore number 14 as a player.

Barcelona FC expressed “its pain and sorrow” at the news of his death, adding: “We will always love you, Johan. Rest in peace.”

Pele, regarded by many as the best footballer of all time, said Cruyff “was a great player and coach” who leaves a “very important legacy”.

Pep Guardiola said his former manager “painted the chapel and Barcelona coaches since have merely restored or improved it”.Culled from www.BBCsports.com



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