It has been confirmed that Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff has been diagnosed with lung cancer. His spokeswoman, speaking on Thursday, revealed that ‘He has been in hospital this week for tests and lung cancer has been confirmed.’
It is no secret that the former Ajax and Barcelona man was a smoker during his playing days, and continued until he underwent heart bypass surgery in 1991, after which he became the face of an anti-smoking campaign.
His playing and coaching style have been quoted as ‘total football’, and many believe that his work at Barcelona paved the way for the dominant style of played we have seen from the Catalan giants in recent years. However, arguably his most impressive football came during his time at Ajax, where he helped the club win the European Cup three years running (1971-1973) and won eight Dutch first division title. By helping mid-table Barcelona win their first national title for over a decade, the 3-time Ballon d’Or winner became a legend of two clubs. The father of the ‘Cruyff turn’ was voted player of the tournament at the 1974 World Cup where his Netherlands team lost out on the title in the final against Germany.
The man who received the FIFA Order of Merit, the highest honour FIFA can award, in 2010 will be receiving wishes from everyone in the football community of which he is a much loved member. We too would like to wish him all the best for his battle with lung cancer.