Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff dies

His death comes less than six months after he announced that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer

Reuters March 24, 2016
Johan Cruyff speaks after being presented as the new football coach of Catalonia at Palau de Congresos de Catalunya in Barcelona in this November 9, 2009 file photo. PHOTO: REUTERS

AMSTERDAM: Johan Cruyff, the legendary Dutch football striker and coach, has died of lung cancer aged 68, according to a message posted on his website.

The site said he had died in Barcelona, surrounded by family.

As a player, Cruyff was the embodiment of Dutch "total football", a fluid style of play focused on ball possession and rapid passing, and involving all members of the team in both attack and defence.

He emerged as one of the world's greats in the early 1970s when he helped Ajax Amsterdam win three European Cups in a row from 1971-73, and he was named European Footballer of the Year in 1971, 1973 and 1974.

This file photo taken on June 03, 1972 shows Johan Cruyff holding the winner's cup outside the municiple theatre in Amsterdam after Ajax Amsterdam beat Inter Milan. PHOTO: AFP

Messi, Suarez 'penalty of the century' rehearsed, reveals Neymar

He joined Barcelona for a then-world record transfer fee of $2.0 million, and it was the Catalan club that later defined his coaching career as he led them to their first La Liga title in nearly 15 years in 1974.

He was also a key player in the great Netherlands team that reached the 1974 World Cup final, when a global audience saw him perform the now-famous "Cruyff turn", in which the player tries to deceive a defender by hooking the ball behind their own leg before swerving away in the direction of the ball.

This file photo taken on July 07, 1974 shows Johan Cruyff controlling the ball under pressure from a West German player during the World Cup final between West Germany and the Netherlands in Munich. PHOTO: AFP

The famous "Cruyff turn":


Cruyff had been a heavy smoker, and had had heart surgery in 1991.

His death comes less than six months after he announced that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

Most Read