Johan Cruyff

The death of Johan Cruyff, one of the greatest footballers in the history of the sport (soccer or football, depending on where you live), takes away from this world not just a phenom of skill, but also one of the more influential players to ever play the game.

Cruyff passed away at the age of 68 from lung cancer, surrounded by his family in Barcelona. He was diagnosed with the cancer in October 2015. He was a heavy smoker, which led to open heart surgery in 1991, and after giving up smoking in 1991 following surgery, he took to sucking lollipops when watching games.

Cruyff has always been the face of Total Football, playing under manager Rinus Michels at both Ajax and the Dutch national team, but might be also credited with being the first star footballer who put himself in front of the team, be it the club or the national side. He played for Ajax, Barcelona, Los Angeles Aztecs, Washington Diplomats and Feyenoord before retiring in 1984 with nine Dutch league titles and one in the La Liga, three European Cups as a player and one FIFA World Cup silver medal with the Netherlands in 1974. He won the Ballon d’Or three times (1971, 1973, 1974).

As a manager he worked at Ajax and Barcelona, winning the Cup Winners Cup with Ajax (1987) and the European Cup with Barcelona (1992), along with four consecutive league titles (1991-1994). At both club and international level, he scored 405 goals in 711 matches.

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