Netherlands great Johan Cruyff has died of cancer aged 68, his official website has announced.
Cruyff, who made his name as a forward with Ajax and Barcelona, won the Ballon d’Or three times. He won three consecutive European Cups with Ajax and went on to manage Barcelona to their first European Cup win in 1992.
Cruyff helped his country reach the World Cup final in 1974, where they lost to West Germany.
In February, Cruyff said he felt he was “2-0 up in a match” against lung cancer and he was “sure I will end up winning”. The former Ajax and Barcelona forward, who also managed both clubs, was diagnosed with lung cancer last October.
A statement on his website said: “On March 24 2016 Johan Cruyff (68) died peacefully in Barcelona, surrounded by his family after a hard fought battle with cancer. It’s with great sadness that we ask you to respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.”
A genius attacking midfielder, he scored 290 goals in 514 career games and won the Ballon d’Or three times in a glittering career. He was also famed for the ‘Cruyff turn’ skill that is still used today by the greatest players around. As a manager he won five ‘Manager of the Year’ awards and was credited with developing Barcelona’s infamous La Masia academy.
In recent years Cruyff had become well-known for his controversial comments on world football while he also ran the Johan Cruyff Foundation – helping disadvantaged kids.