Former Barcelona president Nunez dies at age 87

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Josep Lluis Nunez, the Barcelona president who oversaw the club’s transformation into a soccer powerhouse, has died. He was 87.

Barcelona says Nunez died on Monday. The club did not mention the cause of death.

Nunez was in charge when Barcelona signed greats including Diego Maradona and founded the renowned “La Masia” youth academy to produce more stars.

His tenure from 1978-2000 remains the longest and most successful presidency in the history of the club founded in 1899.

Under Nunez, Barcelona won its first European Cup in 1992, seven Spanish league titles, and six Copa del Reys.

His marquee signings included former player Johan Cruyff as manager, Maradona and Brazil’s Ronaldo.

The “La Masia” football academy that Nunez founded in 1979 has produced the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi Hernandez.

Nunez also owned a large Spanish construction company. In 2011, a Spanish judge found Nunez guilty of having bribed tax inspectors in a case that did not involve Barcelona.

He spent time in a prison near Barcelona in November 2014 after his original six-year sentence was reduced.