Johan Cruyff diagnosed with cancer
Arguably the greatest footballer to have hailed from Europe,
Johan Cruyff, has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Responsible for inventing the “Cruyff Turn” — a football trick
still seen across school playgrounds to this day — the
Dutchman also helped to champion the “Total Football”
philosophy that made his Ajax and Netherlands sides some
of the most revered of all time.
The 68-year-old, who won three consecutive European Cups
with Ajax and helped Netherlands reach the 1974 World Cup
final, has been undergoing medical tests at a hospital in
Barcelona, which uncovered the illness. The examinations
are still ongoing.
that the examinations have not been finalized, further
announcements cannot be made at the moment,” a
statement from Cruyff’s management read.
“We hope that people are willing to respect the privacy of
Johan and his family. We will make further announcements
when the examinations have been finalized.”
A former smoker, Cruyff underwent heart surgery in 1991
during his time as coach of Barcelona — a club he also
After his operation he took part in an anti-smoking
advertising campaign, which had the slogan: “I’ve had to
two addictions in my life: smoking and playing football.
took it all away.”
Cruyff came to epitomize football in the 1970s and with his
lanky hair and flared jeans, the Dutchman had as much
swagger off the pitch as he did on it.
The Dutchman won the Ballon d’Or — the old European
Player of the Year award — three times in 1971, 1973 and
1974 as he helped Ajax to its hat-trick of European titles in
1971, 1972 and 1973.
He also inspired Netherlands to a first ever World Cup final
in 1974 in which the Oranje — one of international football’s
most exciting sides in history — lost to host West Germany.
Cruyff received the Player of the Tournament award for his
The Dutchman also enjoyed success in Spain, where he won
the Spanish La Liga title and Spanish Copa del Rey while at
As a coach Cruyff’s influence has been almost as great as
his playing legacy.
He quickly established himself as a Barcelona legend,
guiding a side known as the “Dream Team,” due to its
flowing style of football, to the club’s first ever European
Cup in 1992.
With Cruyff as coach, Barcelona won four consecutive
Spanish La Liga titles from 1991 to 1994, as well as the
European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1989 and the Spanish Copa
del Rey in 1990.
The Dutchman helped to lay the foundations for an identity
still seen today at Barcelona — a club which has a heavy
focus on youth development and prides itself on its defined
“tiki-taka” style of play.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and vice-
president Susana Monje have both voiced their support for
Cruyff, who also had success in charge of Ajax, was last in
a managerial post with Catalonia’s unofficial “national”
team, while he has held a number of minor roles in the game