Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff has been diagnosed with lung cancer, his spokeswoman has confirmed. Reports from Catalan radio station RAC1 emerged on Thursday morning claiming the 68-year-old, a three time Ballon d'Or winner, had fallen ill.

But it has since been confirmed he has been undergoing tests after being informed of his illness at the beginning of the week. "He has been in hospital this week for tests and lung cancer has been confirmed," Carole Thaye, Cruyff's spokeswoman, told AP.

Cruyff won three consecutive European Cups playing for Ajax while personifying the 'Total Football' mantra embodied by the Netherlands national team in the 1970s.

He won one league title as a Barcelona player in 1974 but his greatest achievements in Catalonia came when he returned as manager of the club in 1988. The Dutchman led the club to four consecutive La Liga titles from 1990 to 1994 in addition to their first ever European Cup, beating Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992.

A smoker even during his playing days, Cruyff underwent a double heart bypass in 1991 while in charge at the Camp Nou before going onto become the face of an anti-smoking campaign.