Marcel ("Marco") van Basten
(October 31, 1964 in Oog in Al, Utrecht)
is a Dutch football manager, currently in charge of the Dutch national team.
Previously, he was a football player who played for Ajax Amsterdam and A.C.
Milan in the 1980s and early 1990s. He is regarded as one of the finest strikers
of all time and scored 276 goals in a career cut short by injury. Known for his
strength on the ball, his tactical awareness and spectacular strikes and
volleys, Van Basten was named European Footballer of the Year three times (1988,
'89 and '92) and FIFA World Player of the Year in 1992.
Van Basten played very briefly for Elinkwijk before Ajax signed him. He
played his first game for Ajax in April 1982, scoring at his debut in the 5-0
victory over NEC. In that game, he entered the game as a substitute for the only
man he could not rival in terms of fame in Dutch football: Johan Cruijff.
Van Basten's growth seemed to be unstoppable in h
is next years serving for
Ajax, as he did not only prove to be a prolific goalscorer, but also to be in
possession of a brilliant technique. During the 1982-1983 season he had 1982's
European topscorer, Wim Kieft, as his main rival for Ajax's striker position,
which caused him to play only 20 games, scoring 9 goals. However, his
performances in that season were enough to convince the board of Ajax to release
Kieft to Serie A club Pisa, continuing the mid-eighties with the teenage
He repaid the confidence they had in him with no less than four consecutive
topscorer titles (1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987), scoring an amazing amount of 117
goals in only 112 matches. A highlight of this great run was the year 1985/1986,
when he made 37 goals in 26 matches (including six against Sparta and five
against Heracles) in the Dutch competition, making him the victor of the
European Golden Boot that year. Van Basten had proven himself to once again be
essential for Ajax in the 1986-87 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final, scoring the only
goal in a win over FC Lokomotive Leipzig.
In 1987 Silvio Berlusconi brought Van Basten to Milan along with fellow
countrymen Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard, joining them in 1988. In his first
season Milan won their first scudetto (league championship) in eight
years, but Van Basten played only eleven games and was constantly troubled by an
ankle injury. Despite this, in Euro 88 Van Basten showed a dazzling run of form,
including a hat-trick against England and a spectacular volley in the final
against the Soviet Union, winning the European Championship.
Helped by his form in international competition, Van Basten had an excellent
season in 1988-89, winning European Footballer of the Year and scoring nineteen
goals in Serie A as well as helping Milan demolish Steaua Bucharest by scoring
twice to win the European Cup. In 1989-90 he was Capocannoniere (Serie
A's leading goal scorer) and Milan defended their European Cup successfully
against Benfica. The Dutch national side had a very poor World Cup in 1990,
finally going out to West Germany in the second round.
Domestically Milan's 1990-91 season was disappointing as Sampdoria won the
scudetto. Van Basten fell out with Milan's manager Arrigo Sacchi and
Berlusconi sacked Sacchi to placate him. Managed by Fabio Capello the following
season, Milan did not lose a single game in the league and won the championship
- Van Basten scoring 25 goals and becoming Capocannoniere again.
Internationally Holland went out of Euro 92 to Denmark in a semi-final penalty
shootout, Van Basten having his saved by the Great Dane, Peter Schmeichel.
Milan stretched their unbeaten run into the 1992-93 season, going 58 matches
in total before they lost a game. Van Basten played exceptionally well in the
early part of the season and was voted European Player of the Year for a third
time before his troublesome ankle injury recurred in a game against Ancona. Van
Basten underwent another series of operations and returned to Milan for the
final few domestic games before they lost the Champions League final to
Marseille. The final was Van Basten's final game for Milan; despite enormous
effort, he was unable to recover from his injuries.
||Marcel van Basten
|Date of birth
||October 31, 1964
|Place of birth
||San Marco, The Swan Of Utrecht
||Manager (former Striker)
* Professional club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
He did come back for Demetrio Albertini's testimonial match at San Siro
however (December 2005), and managed to score a goal (from a header) before
being substituted early in the first half.
On the 22nd of July 2006 he again returned for testimonial football to
celebrate the 11-year Arsenal playing career of Dennis Bergkamp, in the first
game at Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium. He played a fair part of the second half
for the Ajax legends team, appearing as part of a double substitution that also
introduced Johan Cruyff. While he didn't get on the scoresheet, he dazzled with
accurate backheels and superb control infront of goal.
- European Championship: 1988.
- European Cup: 1989, 1990, 1994 (now called: UEFA Champions League).
- UEFA Cup Winners Cup: 1987.
- Intercontinental Cup: 1989, 1990.
- European Supercup: 1989, 1990, 1994.
- Dutch Championship: 1982, 1983, 1985.
- Italian Championship: 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994.
- Dutch Cup: 1983, 1986, 1987.
- FIFA World Player of the Year: 1992.
- World Soccer Player of the Year: 1988, 1992.
- European Footballer of the Year: 1988, 1989, 1992.
Van Basten officially left Milan in 1995 and retired from football, stating
he would never try management. However, he changed his mind and took a course
with the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB). His first stint as a
manager was as an assistant to his former teammate John van't Schip with the
second team of Ajax in 2003-2004. On 29 July 2004, Van Basten was named as the
new manager of the Dutch national team, with van't Schip as his assistant.
As a coach, he soon established himself as a man of strong principles. Van
Basten famously dropped superstars like Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert,
Edgar Davids and Roy Makaay, benched Mark van Bommel, because all five were
either past their prime, injured, or constantly underachieving.
There were also calls for Van Basten to call up Dennis Bergkamp who had
retired from the national team 6 years earlier for a final hurrah as he was
retiring that season. Van Basten then revealed to the media that he never
intended to do so despite Bergkamp's own willingness and the national team's
lack of a playmaker.
For probably the first time in decades, none of the "Big Three" Clubs (Ajax
Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven, and Feyenoord Rotterdam) provided the backbone for the
national team, but instead newcomer AZ Alkmaar with relatively unknown players
like Denny Landzaat, Barry Opdam, Barry van Galen, Ron Vlaar, Jan Kromkamp or
Joris Mathijsen. Other remarkable choices were Khalid Boulahrouz, Hedwiges
Maduro, Ryan Babel and Romeo Castelen.
To date his selections have proven successful in rejuvenating the Dutch
national side. Under his guidance, the team were unbeaten in their World Cup
qualification group and made it through the group stages at the FIFA World Cup
2006, but were eliminated in a frenzied 1-0 loss to Portugal in the Round of 16.
Van Basten was heavily criticised for dropping Ruud van Nistelrooy (who had
scored twenty-eight goals for Holland) before this game, in favour of Arjen
Robben (7 goals) (Left Winger), Dirk Kuyt (4 goals) (Center Forward), Robin Van
Persie (2 goals) (right winger) and eventually substituting Dirk Kuyt for Jan
Vennegoor of Hesselink (no goals) in the 84th minute.
Van Basten has a contract with the KNVB for managing the Dutch side until
2008. The KNVB has expressed its wishes to extend his contract to include the
World Cup qualification route to 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
of the Year
of the Year
|FIFA World Player of
Player of the Year
Player of the Year
|Dutch National Coach