Johan Cruyff passes away aged 68 after cancer battle

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The sad news has reached us this afternoon that Johan Cryuff has passed away, aged 68. 

The news was announced this afternoon via Cryuff's official Twitter profile.

It's hard to under-estimate the influence of the Dutch master on the modern game, both on and off the field. 

He was, of course, central to the Total Football revolution in Dutch football back in the 1970s which revolutionised the game, while later on his influence was felt at Barcelona, where his ideas underpinned Pep Guardiola's historically successful Barcelona side that claimed 14 trophies in the 19 competitions they entered.

As a player he won eight Dutch league titles, and the Spanish league title with Barcelona in 1973. In his managerial career he guided Barcelona to four league titles and helped them win their first ever European Cup in 1992.

In honour of the great man passing, check out three moments which show just how much of an innovator he really was. 

Cruyff turn

Most modern fans will be familiar with one of the most iconic moments in football history; the Cruyff turn at the 1974 World Cup.

The Dutch playmaker left Swedish defender Jan Olsson for dead with a move that is still copied to this day.

Before Henry and Pires, there was Cruyff

Where Thierry Henry and Robert Pires failed with their pass-penalty attempt in 2005, almost 25 years earlier Cruyff had already shown them how it was done.

During an Ajax game against Helmond in 1982, the innovator opted to pass his penalty to team-mate Jesper Olsen who slotted the ball home. Somewhat fittingly, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez executed the same trick against Celta Vigo earlier this season.

Cruyff's best Barca goal?

Described as the most beautiful goal scored by Cruyff at Barcelona, this is the sort of thing you see Zlatan Ibrahimovic attempt these days.

After the cross came over, Cruyff was left with an impossible angle to score from - but a flick of the boot later it was in the back of the net. It's the type of goal that needs a couple watches to really appreciate just how difficult it was for the Dutchman to score.

Top Three Johan Cruyff quotes: 

"I’m ex-player, ex-technical director, ex-coach, ex-manager, ex-honorary president. A nice list that once again shows that everything comes to an end."

"I’m not religious. In Spain all 22 players make the sign of the cross before they enter the pitch. If it works all matches must therefore end in a draw."

"Players today can only shoot with their laces. I could shoot with the inside, laces, and outside of both feet. In other words, I was six times better than today’s players."

RIP Johan Cruyff, you'll be missed greatly.

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