Jordi Cruyff ‘touched’ by kind tributes to father Johan

Jordi Cruyff says he is “touched” by the messages of support and tributes to his father Johan, who lost his battle with cancer on Thursday.

Jordi Cruyff ‘touched’ by kind tributes to father Johan

The Dutch football great has been hailed as one of the best in history by fans around the globe — while a charity match between his final club Feyenoord and Sparta Rotterdam on Thursday was paused in the 14th minute in his honour.

In a message posted on his father’s official website, worldofjohancruyff.com, 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 but also 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.” The family’s management confirmed they are currently making arrangements for a final farewell to Cruyff, as well as preparing details for an official memorial.

Cruyff’s ability to transcend football’s tribal boundaries were evident in Rotterdam where the match between Feyenoord and Sparta briefly stopped in the 14th minute — representing the number he wore for Holland.

Cruyff played for the club in the 1983-84 season, helping them to a league and cup double, and the gesture underlined how Cruyff — a product of fierce rivals Ajax — managed to transcend boundaries.

There will also be a pause in the 14th minute of Holland’s friendly against France in Amsterdam on Friday night in honour of Cruyff, who guided his nation to the World Cup final in 1974.

And the tributes are set to continue for Cruyff, with the Dutch federation (KNVB) president Michael van Praag saying: “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.”

A three-time Ballon d’Or winner, Cruyff helped Ajax to eight Dutch titles and three successive European Cups before following manager Rinus Michels to Barcelona and winning the Primera title.

Cruyff became synonymous with ‘Total Football’ and returned to Holland to finish his playing days, with the sought-after football thinker again swapping Amsterdam for Catalonia after retirement.

He led Barca to four league titles and their first European Cup in 1992 — a period in which he underwent major heart surgery.

Cruyff was sacked in 1996 but remained influential at the Nou Camp for the rest of his life, with son Jordi playing at the club for a time.

Barcelona posted on Instagram: “We’ll always love you, Johan. Rest in peace”, with a fuller statement paying tribute to a “player and a coach who will forever be a legend at the club”.

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