The Netherlands football hero Johan Cruyff departed the world through cancer at the age of 68.
The Dutchman, who won Ballon d’Or three times, guided Netherlands to the World Cup final in 1974 and as a manager he spent eight years in charge of Barcelona.
On March 24 2016 Johan Cruyff (68) died peacefully in Spain, surrounded by his family after a hard struggle with cancer.
“It’s with tears that we plead you to respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief,” read a statement on the World of Johan Cruyff website.
“With sadness the death of Johan Cruyff has taught one or two lessons. Words are not enough,” wrote the Dutch football federation on Twitter.
Cruyff, who was a heavy smoker until undergoing heart surgery in 1991, made his illness publicized. He was regarded as one of the game’s greatest players.
He helped Ajax to three consecutive European Cups from 1971 to 1973 and was the linchpin for Holland as they were defeated 2-1 in the final of the 1974 World Cup by West Germany. During the tournament his eponymous turn was first seen against Sweden and soon copied the world over.
He joined Barcelona for a world record fee. He went on to become a big favourite at the Camp Nou, ultimately coaching the Catalan club to a first European Cup victory in 1992 as well as winning four successive La Liga titles between 1991 and 1994, having managed Ajax from 1985 to 1988.
Barcelona tweeted: “We will always love you, Johan. Rest in peace,” while a club statement issued later said: “FC Barcelona would like to express its pain and sorrow at the passing away of Johan Cruyff, who was both an FC Barcelona player and a coach and who will forever be a legend at the Club.”