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Barcelona and Ajax offer support to Dutch legend Johann Cruyff after lung cancer diagnosis

By Robert Jones

Published 23/10/2015

Dutch football legend Johann Cruyff
Dutch football legend Johann Cruyff

Barcelona and Ajax have sent their best wishes to former star Johan Cruyff, who is suffering from lung cancer.

News of the 68-year-old's diagnosis emerged in the Spanish media on Thursday morning and was later confirmed by Ajax director Edwin van der Sar before a statement appeared on Cruyff's official website.

"Over recent weeks, Johan Cruyff has undergone various medical checkups at a hospital in Barcelona. During these reviews, he has been diagnosed with lung cancer," the statement read.

"Out of respect for the privacy of Johan and his family, and the fact that the tests have not yet been completed, further announcements will not be made yet. We trust that this time, if the privacy of Johan and his family are respected."

Earlier on Van der Sar said on Ajax's website: "We have had contact with his manager, Carole Thate, and she confirmed to us that Johan indeed has lung cancer.

"It has just been discovered, so they could not yet provide much more information. On behalf of the club, I wish Johan and his family a lot of strength and a speedy recovery."

Cruyff is regarded as one of football's greatest ever players having won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974.

He was the central figure in Ajax boss Rinus Michels' footballing philosophy that became known as Total Football, with his flair and artistry demonstrated by the trick that bears his name, the Cruyff turn.

Cruyff led Ajax to three consecutive European Cups from 1971 to 1973 and was the star figure as Holland reached the World Cup final in 1974. By then he had joined Barcelona for a world record fee and Cruyff became a huge favourite in Catalonia.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu wrote on Twitter on Thursday: "Johan, you'll win this one too! The whole Club is behind you."

Belfast Telegraph

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