MADRID • Johan Cruyff, one of football's greatest players and most influential coaches, has been diagnosed with lung cancer, according to reports in the Spanish media yesterday.
The illness was detected this week at a clinic in Barcelona and Cruyff was having tests to determine the seriousness of his condition, according to the reports, which did not identify the source of the information.
The 68-year-old, who won the Ballon d'Or three times, helped Ajax win three European Cups in a row in the early 1970s. He then joined Barcelona and led the Catalan club to their first La Liga title in nearly 15 years in 1974.
After stints at other clubs including the Los Angeles Aztecs, Washington Diplomats and Levante, Cruyff returned to Ajax before ending his playing career at bitter rivals Feyenoord.
He also led the Netherlands playing the "Total Football" he would later refine and make his own as a coach to the 1974 World Cup final, where they lost 1-2 to West Germany. In 1999, Cruyff was voted European Player of the Century.