The Hague - Dutch football great Johan Cruyff, regarded as
one of the world's greatest-ever players, has been diagnosed with lung cancer,
his management team said on Thursday.
"In the last few weeks Johan Cruyff has undergone
medical tests at a Barcelona hospital. He has been diagnosed with lung
cancer," Carol Thate said in a statement.
"To respect Johan and his family's privacy and because
tests have not been finalised, no further information will be given at this
stage," Thate added.
"More will be given once these examinations have been
finished," Thate said.
Cruyff, 68, who captained the Netherlands to the World Cup
final in 1974 and who was one of the proponents of the "total
football" philosophy, has been in-and-out of hospital over the last few
weeks with health complaints.
Also read: Cruyff: Mourinho sets a bad example
During his career as a Dutch international, the unorthodox
Cruyff scored 33 goals before retiring in 1977.
He won the prestigious Ballon d'Or award three times, a
record shared with current UEFA chief Michel Platini and former Dutch striker
Marco van Basten.
Afterwards, he enjoyed a hugely successful managerial career
with Amsterdam-based Ajax and Catalan giants Barcelona as well as a brief spell
as adviser to Club Deportivo Guadalajara in Mexico.
Cruyff still lives in Barcelona.
Often seen sporting a cigarette from the side of his mouth
and known in his player days to light up at half time or just out of the
showers -- Cruyff quit smoking after undergoing a double heart bypass operation
At the time he was reportedly smoking at least 20 cigarettes
He later appeared in an advertisement for the Catalan health
department in which he was seen juggling a cigarette packet 16 times before
booting it into touch.
"Football has given me everything in life," Cruyff
says in the advert, which can still be seen on the YouTube video channel.
"Tobacco almost took it all away."
Meanwhile, good wishes continued to pour in for the
Amsterdam-born Cruyff, including from Barcelona, where he played from 1973-78
and coached from 1988-1996.
"Before beginning her presentation, VP Susana Monje
sent a message of support to Johan Cruyff, who just announced that he has lung
cancer," FC Barcelona said in a tweet as it presented its yearly figures
From 1988, when Cruyff started as Barca's manager, the club
"came to be associated once more with excellent football and sporting
success", Barcelona said on their website, describing the period under
The club won four consecutive Spanish League championships
between 1990 and 1994, highlighted by winning the European Cup in 1992 with
players dubbed the "Dream Team" of European football.
"Dear #johancruijff i know you as a fighter and after
many battles you won you will win this one too," tweeted another Dutch
football legend Ruud Gullit.
For the latest on
national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and
like our Facebook page.