Johann Cruyff, who spent one season with the North American Soccer League’s LA Aztecs in 1979, and was known as the star of perhaps the best national team never to win a World Cup in the 1970s — the Netherlands — has died at age 68.
A heavy smoker in his younger days, Cruyff lost a long battle against lung cancer.
Aztecs attendance peaked during Cruyff’s long year with the club, according to the Aztecs Wikipedia entry.
Cruyff was part of the versatile Dutch team that prompted the term total football, such was their silky teamwork, and starred for manager Rinus Michels in a starting XI that included such greats as Johan Neeskens (his son, John Neeskens, just joined LA Galaxy II) Johnny Rep and Rob Rensenbrink.
He also played a major role as a Barcelona player and coach in making the club what it is today
Tributes, reaction and video after the jump.