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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.
Recommended games include:
- 11:45 a.m. today Ireland-Germany ESPN
- 11:45 a.m. today Scotland-Poland Fox Sports 2
- 5 p.m. Argentina-Ecuador BeIn Sports
- 11:30 a.m. Friday Spain-Luxembourg ESPN
- 11:30 a.m. England-Estonia Fox Sports 2
- 9 a.m. Saturday Kazakhstan-Netherlands Fox Sports 2
- 9 a.m. Sunday Finland-Northern Ireland Fox Sports 1
- 9 a.m. Sunday Greece-Hungary Fox Sports 2
- 11:30 a.m. Sunday Poland-Ireland ESPN
- 11:30 a.m. Sunday Germany-Georgia Fox Sports 1
- 11:30 a.m. Sunday Gibraltar-Scotland Fox Sports 2
- 9 a.m. Monday Sweden-Moldova Fox Sports 2
- 11:30 a.m. Monday Lithuania-England Fox Sports 2
- 11:30 a.m. Monday Ukraine-Spain ESPN2
- 11:30 a.m. Tuesday Netherlands-Czech Republic ESPN2
- 11:30 a.m. Tuesday Italy-Norway Fox Sports 1
- 11:30 a.m. Tuesday Belgium-Israel Fox Sports 2
The Galaxy may have the weekend off, but Robbie Keane doesn’t. Read more about the full slate of international games available for the armchair fan this Labor Day holiday weekend in this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column.
Blow Hard: Always entertaining Mexico coach Miguel Herrera, seen here at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, was dumped after smacking a journalist earlier in the week right before the next round of World Cup qualifying begins (Associated Press Photo).