Dutch legend touched by support

2015-10-26 13:00
Johan Cruyff (

The Hague - Dutch great Johan Cruyff said Monday the world of football had displayed its good side with the support shown to him since he revealed last week that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

"I am enormously proud of the appreciation shown in all the responses," Cruyff wrote in his column for the leading Dutch daily De Telegraaf.

The former Ajax and Barcelona star added that the affection that had been shown to him was "moving and heartwarming".

On Sunday, Barcelona players wore T-shirts bearing a message of support for Cruyff before their 3-1 win against Eibar at the Camp Nou.

The T-shirts were orange, the colour of the Dutch shirt that Cruyff wore with distinction in his playing days, including when he captained the Netherlands to the 1974 World Cup final.

In the Netherlands, a minute's silence was held in support of Cruyff and all cancer victims in the 14th minute -- in reference to Cruyff's shirt number -- of several matches.

During Ajax's match away to Vitesse Arnhem, a large yellow banner was displayed with a message of support for the 68-year-old while a minute's applause was held in the 14th minute.

"It is annoying that the news was made public so quickly," Cruyff added. "All I know is that I have lung cancer. Nothing more.

"I am still undergoing tests. I'm not that familiar with it yet, I only know the first name, but not the surname."

During his international career, the unorthodox Cruyff, whose fluid passing and mercurial on-field tactics often kept opponents guessing until the last moment, scored 33 goals before retiring in 1977.

He also won the prestigious Ballon d'Or award three times.

Afterwards, he enjoyed a hugely successful managerial career with clubs Ajax and Barcelona as well as a brief spell as advisor to Club Deportivo Guadalajara in Mexico..

In earlier days, Cruyff was often seen sporting a cigarette from the side of his mouth and was known to light up at half-time or as soon as he stepped out of the showers.

But he quit smoking after undergoing a double heart bypass operation in 1991.

At the time he was reportedly smoking at least 20 cigarettes a day.

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.

Read more on:    johan cruyff  |  soccer


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