Thursday 20 July 2017

Watch: Touching moment Holland friendly was stopped in memory of Johan Cruyff

A minute of silence in tribute to Johan Cruyff, who died on Thursday after a five-month battle with lung cancer. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos
A minute of silence in tribute to Johan Cruyff, who died on Thursday after a five-month battle with lung cancer. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos

Holland's friendly against France at the Amsterdam Arena was temporarily stopped in the 14th minute on Friday night as a mark of respect for Johan Cruyff.

With the action halted by the referee as planned, players from both sides, all wearing black armbands, took part in a minute's applause that rang around the stadium in tribute to the Dutch football great widely regarded as one of the best footballers in history.

Cruyff's image appeared on the stadium's big screen during the applause, while a large banner displayed in one of the stands simply read "Johan Thanks".

Dutch federation (KNVB) president Michael van Praag had earlier said: ''I can't wait for the moment when we rename our stadium the Johan Cruyff Arena. It's the best tribute we can pay him.''

Cruyff, who wore the number 14 shirt for his country and led them as captain to the 1974 World Cup final, died on Thursday at the age of 68 after losing his battle with lung cancer.

A charity match between Feyenoord, the final club he played for, and Sparta Rotterdam on Thursday was also paused in the 14th minute in his honour.

Jordi Cruyff on Friday said he was ''touched'' by the messages of support and tributes to his father Johan.

In a message posted on his father's official website, worldofjohancruyff.com, Jordi wrote: ''On behalf of my mother, sisters and the rest of the family I would like to say thank you for all the love, kind words and memories that have been shared with us, since yesterday but also over the past months.

''It has touched us deeply that Johan was such an inspiration to many of you. We would like to express our special thanks to all the doctors and medical staff who have supported us until the end.''

The family's management confirmed they were making arrangements for a final farewell to Cruyff, as well as preparing details for an official memorial.

A large banner is displayed during a standing ovation in honour of late Dutch football legend Johann Cruyff during a pause in the 14th minute of the friendly football match between the Netherlands and France at the Amsterdam ArenA, on March 25, 2016, in Amsterdam. Cruyff, who passed away on March 24, 2016 at the age of 68 after a battle with cancer, wore the number 14 on his Ajax and Dutch national shirt during his glittering playing career. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
A large banner is displayed during a standing ovation in honour of late Dutch football legend Johann Cruyff during a pause in the 14th minute of the friendly football match between the Netherlands and France at the Amsterdam ArenA, on March 25, 2016, in Amsterdam. Cruyff, who passed away on March 24, 2016 at the age of 68 after a battle with cancer, wore the number 14 on his Ajax and Dutch national shirt during his glittering playing career. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

England boss Roy Hodgson on Friday confirmed both his team and Germany will wear black armbands in their friendly in Berlin on Saturday.

And Hodgson said of Cruyff: ''Whenever a legend passes away it's a sad day for football.

''The word 'legend' is used far too flippantly, too glibly these days, but Johan was one.

''He was a great coach too. In my short meetings with him I found him a fascinating man to listen to.''

A three-time European Footballer of the Year award winner, Cruyff helped Ajax - whose youth system he came through - to a total of eight Dutch titles as a player and three European Cups.

Netherland's midfielder Davy Klaassen (L) and Netherland's midfielder Quincy Promes applaud during a standing ovation in honour of late Dutch football legend Johann Cruyff during a pause in the 14th minute of the friendly football match between the Netherlands and France at the Amsterdam ArenA, on March 25, 2016, in Amsterdam. Cruyff, who passed away on March 24, 2016 at the age of 68 after a battle with cancer, wore the number 14 on his Ajax and Dutch national shirt during his glittering playing career. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Netherland's midfielder Davy Klaassen (L) and Netherland's midfielder Quincy Promes applaud during a standing ovation in honour of late Dutch football legend Johann Cruyff during a pause in the 14th minute of the friendly football match between the Netherlands and France at the Amsterdam ArenA, on March 25, 2016, in Amsterdam. Cruyff, who passed away on March 24, 2016 at the age of 68 after a battle with cancer, wore the number 14 on his Ajax and Dutch national shirt during his glittering playing career. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

In 1973 he reunited with his old Ajax manager Rinus Michels by following him from the Dutch club to Barcelona, and won the Primera Division title in his first season.

Cruyff, who became synonymous with 'Total Football', went from Barca to the United States, then on to Spain with Levante, before returning to Holland to finish his playing days, having another spell with Ajax and then one at Feyenoord.

The 'Cruyff Turn', the forward's exquisite swerve past bamboozled Sweden defender Jan Olsson at the 1974 World Cup, remains one of football's most endearing images.

After retirement, the sought-after football thinker then took over as boss at Ajax, before once again swapping Amsterdam for Catalonia.

He led Barca to four league titles and their first European Cup in 1992 - a period in which he underwent major heart surgery, which prompted him to stop smoking.

Cruyff was sacked in 1996 but remained influential at the Nou Camp for the rest of his life, with son Jordi playing at the club for a time.

Barcelona posted on Instagram: ''We'll always love you, Johan. Rest in peace'', with a fuller statement paying tribute to a ''player and a coach who will forever be a legend at the club''.

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