Johan Cruyff, the legendary figure for both Barcelona and Dutch football, has been diagnosed with lung cancer, according to widespread reports in Spain.
Cruyff discovered on Tuesday that he was suffering from the disease and will now undergo further tests to ascertain how much the condition has advanced, Catalunya Radio and RAC1 both reported on Thursday morning citing sources close to former player and coach.
The 68-year-old, who most recently held a post as manager of Catalonia’s unofficial “national” team, previously underwent heart surgery in 1991 during his time in charge of Barca.
One of the game’s greatest ever players, Cruyff was a key part of the Ajax side that won three straight European Cups between 1971-73, and also the Dutch national side which reached the World Cup final in 1974. Although he was on the losing side against his country’s neighbours and major rivals, West Germany, Cruyff was named the Player of the Tournament and the same year won the last of his three Ballon d’Or titles.
He moved to Barcelona in 1973, but despite winning La Liga and the Copa del Rey during his five years at the Camp Nou his biggest impact came when he returned as manager in 1988.
Having led Ajax to two Eredivisie titles and the Cup Winners’ Cup, Cruyff brought even greater glory to Catalonia. He steered the club to four league titles and their first European Cup during his eight years in charge, as well as laying the foundations for the club’s heavy focus on youth development and defining a style of play that ran through all levels at the club.