Netherlands footballing great Johan Cruyff has died of cancer aged 68.
Cruyff, who made his name as a forward with Ajax and Barcelona, was European footballer of the year three times.
He won three consecutive European Cups with Ajax from 1971, coached Barcelona to their first European Cup triumph in 1992 and helped the Dutch reach the 1974 World Cup final, where they were beaten 2-1 by West Germany.
The Dutch FA said: “Words can hardly be found for this huge loss.”
It added: “The greatest Dutch footballer of all time and one of the world’s best ever. Our condolences go to his wife, family, friends and the entire football world at home and abroad. We wish everyone a lot of strength in this difficult time.”
Cruyff had double heart bypass surgery in 1991, and immediately after the operation gave up smoking and took to sucking lollipops in the Barcelona dugout.
He featured in a Catalan health department advert, saying: “Football has given me everything in life, tobacco almost took it all away.”
The Catalan side won four consecutive La Liga titles from 1990-91 to 1993-94 under his guidance and although he was sacked in 1995, he remained influential at the club for the rest of his life.
Cruyff was diagnosed with cancer in October 2015 but in February of this year, he said he felt he was “2-0 up in a match” against lung cancer and he was “sure I will end up winning”.
We’ll have to wait long time for next player like him.
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