JOHAN CRUYFF 1947-2016

Johan Cruyff (1947-2016)

The former Dutch player and coach lost his battle with lung cancer which he had been battling for several months on Thursday. One of the game's greatest players and innovators. He was 68.

Johan Cruyff (1947-2016)
KOEN VAN WEEL EFE

Shortly after 13:30 local time in Spain on Thursday, Johan Cruyff's official Twitter acount announced the death of the Dutch ex-player and coach. The 68-year-old losing a short battle with lung cancer.

“On 24 March 2016, Johan Cruyff (68) passed away in Barcelona surrounded by his family after a tough battle against cancer. It is with great sadness that we ask you to respect the privacy of his family at this difficult time”.

Born in Amsterdam in 1947, Cruyff was diagnosed on 22 October after a visit to Barcelona's general hospital.

He underwent several different treatments, and true to form, Cruyff was always brave in the face of adversity. In his first public appearance after learning of his illness, Johan said: “Now I have an enemy within, but I am introducing some friends to help me to beat it”.

Weeks later, in a statement issued by Cruyff Management through Spanish news agency EFE, Cruyff said “Right now I have the sensation that I am winning 2-0 in the first half of a game which isn't over, but I am sure I will end up winning”.

His optimism was always ahead of the expectations expressed by medical staff, who were more pessimistic.

A sad day for sport and football.