Monday 11 December 2017

Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff (68) dies

Johan Cruyff in 1999
Johan Cruyff in 1999

Raf Casert in Barcelona

Dutch soccer great Johan Cruyff, who revolutionised the game as the personification of 'Total Football', died yesterday aged 68.

He is seen pictured left, making a handprint in Barcelona's Champions Square, in 1999.

Yesterday, family spokeswoman Carole Thate confirmed that he had died.

Joaquin Munoz of the Cruyff Foundation in Barcelona said he died in the Spanish city as a result of lung cancer.

Obsessed by football to the end and ever the positive thinker, Cruyff only last month said his recovery was going well. He said: "I have the feeling that I am 2-0 up in the first half. The game is not over yet. Still I know that in the end, I will win."

Former France international Michel Platini said football had lost one of its best ever players. "Johan was my childhood hero, my idol and my friend," said Platini, the former head of European soccer. "I will miss him dearly."

Cruyff won European Cups three times with Ajax as a player and once with Barcelona as a coach.

He was European player of the year three times and, in 1999, was named Europe's best player of the 20th century.

Irish Independent

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