Belfast Telegraph

Dutch fans pay moving tribute to hero Johan Cruyff

By Robert Jones

Holland's friendly against France at the Amsterdam Arena was temporarily stopped in the 14th minute as a mark of respect for Johan Cruyff.

With the action halted by the referee as planned, players from both sides, all wearing black armbands, took part in a minute's applause that rang around the stadium in tribute to the Dutch football great widely regarded as one of the best footballers in history.

Cruyff's image appeared on the stadium's big screen, while a large banner displayed in one of the stands simply read "Johan Thanks".

Dutch federation (KNVB) president Michael van Praag said: "I can't wait for the moment when we rename our stadium the Johan Cruyff Arena. It's the best tribute we can pay him."

France won the game 3-2, with Blaise Matuidi scoring an 87th-minute winner.

Cruyff, who wore the number 14 shirt for his country and led them as captain to the 1974 World Cup final, died on Thursday at the age of 68 after losing his battle with lung cancer.

A charity match between Feyenoord, the final club he played for, and Sparta Rotterdam on Thursday was also paused in the 14th minute in his honour.

Cruyff's son Jordi said he was ''touched'' by the messages of support and tributes to his father Johan.

Jordi wrote: "On behalf of my mother, sisters and the rest of the family I would like to say thank you for all the love, kind words and memories that have been shared with us, since yesterday and over the past months.

"It has touched us deeply that Johan was such an inspiration to many of you. We would like to express our special thanks to all the doctors and medical staff who have supported us until the end."

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