LONDON – Dutch soccer great Johan Cruyff announced Saturday that he is “2-0 up in the first half” and confident he will go on to win his battle against lung cancer.
The former Ajax, Barcelona and Netherlands star, a smoker during his playing days and until undergoing an emergency heart bypass in 1991, disclosed his illness last October.
“After several medical treatments I can say that the results have been very positive, thanks to the excellent work of the doctors, the affection of the people and my positive mentality,” the 68-year-old Cruyff said in a statement on his website.
“Right now, I have the feeling that I am 2-0 up in the first half of a match that has not finished yet. But I am sure that I will end up winning.”
Cruyff, who personified his country’s attacking Total Football style in the 1970s, was a three-time European footballer of the year during his playing career.
He helped Ajax win the European Cup for three consecutive years from 1971-1973 before moving to Barcelona in 1973 and leading the middle-of-the-table team to its first national title in a decade.
Cruyff was a star of the 1974 World Cup, where The Netherlands lost 2-1 in the final to West Germany.