Barcelona: Johan Cruyff has made his first public appearance since being diagnosed with lung cancer last month and says he is fighting hard against the disease.
The Dutchman, one of soccer`s greatest ever players and most influential coaches, confirmed he had lung cancer on October 20.
And he said the outpouring of support since the announcement had helped him in his battle.
Speaking at an event at an event at a university in Barcelona on Thursday, Cruyff said: "I have cancer, that is a fact, the treatment has begun and there are things also in this sense that I`m suffering a lot. Now, a thought, a positive force, with so many people in the world who sent their positive forces seems that I have a body that is twice as strong as before.
"I have cancer, that is a fact, the treatment has begun but sometimes I`m suffering a lot. At this moment with positive energy and so many people in the world giving support it seems like my body is twice strong as it was before.
"The positive way of thinking, the positive things that people said to me by all kind of possibilities. It`s been so strong, I thought it was just a word but getting this energy to you, positive energy and put it in your body it looks like your body is as double as strong as it was before. Which I don`t understand either but, it`s perfect."
Cruyff was appearing at an event for his foundation and the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. The two bodies have signed an agreement to jointly offer a master`s degree in sports management, create a research degree in collaboration with the Laureus Foundation and cooperate in helping people with disabilities.
It wasn`t long before talk turned to football. Cruyff, joined Barcelona for a then world record transfer fee of $2.0 million, and it was Barcelona that would later define his coaching career, helping the Catalan club to win their first La Liga title in nearly 15 years in 1974.
On Saturday Barcelona and Real Madrid face off in the Clasico at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and Cruyff`s old side are favourites - even if he wouldn`t be drawn on who might win.
"Of course I always think about football because is my life but I always think that predictions make no sense. Just look at the game and enjoy it. Of course it`s a special game", said Cruyff.