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Marco van Basten

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Title: Marco van Basten  
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Subject: Ruud Gullit, Johan Cruyff, Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, 1988–89 European Cup
Collection: 1964 Births, 1990 Fifa World Cup Players, 2006 Fifa World Cup Managers, A.C. Milan Players, Afc Ajax Managers, Afc Ajax Non-Playing Staff, Afc Ajax Players, Association Football Forwards, Az Alkmaar Managers, Dutch Expatriate Footballers, Dutch Expatriates in Italy, Dutch Football Managers, Dutch Footballers, Eredivisie Managers, Eredivisie Players, European Footballer of the Year Winners, Expatriate Footballers in Italy, Fifa 100, Fifa World Player of the Year Winners, Jong Ajax Managers, Living People, Netherlands International Footballers, Netherlands National Football Team Managers, Netherlands Under-21 International Footballers, Netherlands Youth International Footballers, Serie a Players, Sportspeople from Utrecht (City), Uefa Euro 1988 Players, Uefa Euro 1992 Players, Uefa Euro 2008 Managers, Uefa European Championship-Winning Players, Usv Elinkwijk Players, World Soccer Magazine World Player of the Year Winners
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Marco van Basten

Marco van Basten
Personal information
Full name Marcel van Basten
Date of birth (1964-10-31) 31 October 1964
Place of birth Utrecht, Netherlands
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)[1]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
AZ (assistant manager)
Youth career
1970–1971 EDO
1971–1980 UVV
1980–1981 USV Elinkwijk
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1981–1987 Ajax 133 (128)
1987–1995 Milan 147 (90)
Total 280 (218)
National team
1981 Netherlands U21 15 (13)
1983–1992 Netherlands 58 (24)
Teams managed
2003–2004 Jong Ajax
2004–2008 Netherlands
2008–2009 Ajax
2012–2014 Heerenveen
2014 AZ
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Marcel "Marco" van Basten (Dutch pronunciation:  ( ); born 31 October 1964) is a Dutch football manager and former football player, who played for Ajax and A.C. Milan, as well as the Netherlands national team, in the 1980s and early 1990s. He is regarded as one of the greatest strikers of all time and has scored 277 goals in a high-profile career, but played his last game in 1993 at the age of 28 due to an injury which caused his retirement two years later.[2] He was later the head coach of Ajax and the Netherlands national team.

Playing for the Netherlands, Van Basten won Euro 1988 where he was the player of the tournament, scoring five goals, including a memorable volley in the final against the Soviet Union.[2][3] At club level he won three Eredivisie titles and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup with Ajax, and three Serie A titles and two European Cups with Milan.

Known for his close ball control, attacking intelligence and spectacular strikes and France Football consulting their former Ballon d'Or winners to elect the Football Player of the Century.[6] In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.[7] In 2004, a poll for the 100 greatest Dutch people was held in the Netherlands: Van Basten ranked number 25, the second highest for a football player, behind Johan Cruyff. In 2007, Sky Sports ranked Van Basten first on its list of great athletes who had their careers cut short.[8]


  • Playing career 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • AFC Ajax 1.2
    • AC Milan 1.3
  • International career 2
    • After retirement 2.1
  • Managing career 3
    • Ajax B 3.1
    • Netherlands 3.2
    • AFC Ajax 3.3
    • SC Heerenveen 3.4
    • AZ Alkmaar 3.5
  • Honours 4
    • Individual 4.1
  • Career statistics 5
    • Club 5.1
    • International 5.2
    • Manager 5.3
  • International matches 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Playing career

Van Basten celebrates his goal for Ajax against Feyenoord in 1983.

Early years

Marco Van Basten was born on 31 October 1964 in Utrecht. He began playing for a local team, EDO, when he was six years old. A year later, he moved to UVV Utrecht. After nine years there, he briefly played for another club from Utrecht, Elinkwijk.

AFC Ajax

Van Basten lifting the 1987 KNVB Cup for Ajax.

AFC Ajax signed Van Basten for the 1981–82 season. He played his first game for Ajax in April 1982, scoring a debut goal in the 5–0 victory over NEC.

In the 1982–83 season, he competed with the European top scorer Wim Kieft for the position of centre forward, and scored nine goals in 20 league matches. After Kieft left for Serie A club Pisa the next season, Van Basten solidified his position as the team's main attacker.

He became a top scorer in the league for four seasons from 1983–84 to 1986–87, scoring 117 goals in 112 matches. In the 1985–86 season, he scored 37 goals in 26 league matches, including six goals against Sparta Rotterdam and five against Heracles Almelo, and won the European Golden Boot. He also scored the winning goal in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final against Lokomotive Leipzig in 1987. He had scored 128 goals in 133 league games for Ajax.[2]

AC Milan

In 1987, Silvio Berlusconi signed Van Basten for Milan, with fellow countrymen Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard joining in 1988. In his first season, Milan won their first Scudetto in eight years, but Van Basten played only 11 games and was constantly troubled by an ankle injury.[2]

In 1988–89, Van Basten won the Ballon d'Or as Europe's top footballer.[2] He scored 19 goals in Serie A and scored two goals in the final of the European Cup as Milan triumphed against Steaua Bucureşti.[2] In 1989–90, he became Capocannoniere, Serie A's leading goal scorer, and Milan successfully defended the European Cup after beating Benfica in the final match.[2]

Milan struggled in the 1990–91 season, as Sampdoria won the Scudetto. After Van Basten fell out with Arrigo Sacchi, Berlusconi sacked the manager. Fabio Capello took over the following season, and Milan went undefeated in the league to win another Scudetto. Van Basten scored 25 league goals, and became Capocannoniere again.[2]

Marco was the greatest striker I ever coached. His early retirement was a mortal misfortune for him, for football, and for Milan.

—Former A.C. Milan manager Fabio Capello[9]

In November 1992, he became the first player to bicycle kick.[2] The record was later equalled by other players, but was bettered only 20 years later, when Lionel Messi scored five goals against Bayer Leverkusen during the 2011–12 Champions League season. In December 1992, Van Basten was named FIFA World Player of the Year.[2]

Milan stretched their unbeaten run into the 1992–93 season, going 58 matches over two seasons before they lost a game.[2] Van Basten played exceptionally well in the early part of the season. He was again voted the European player of the year, becoming the third player after Johan Cruyff and Michel Platini to win the award three times.[2]

His troublesome ankle injury[10] recurred in a game against A.C. Ancona, forcing him to undergo another series of surgery. He returned for the last few games in the season, before Milan lost to Marseille in the Champions League final. The match was Van Basten's final game for the Italian club.[2]

Van Basten had been hopeful of playing for his country at the 1994 World Cup as well as for his club in the 1994–95 season after spending the whole 1993–94 season out of action (missing Milan's victory in the European Cup as well as their Serie A title glory),[11] but his club ordered him not to take part in the World Cup amid fear of ruining his rehabilitation.[12] He finally conceded defeat in his battle to recover on 17 August 1995, when he announced his retirement as a player after two whole years on sidelines.[13]

International career

Van Basten and René Eijkelkamp with the Dutch National team in 1989.

Van Basten's talent was already noticed at a young age and he was called up for the 1983 FIFA World Youth Championship. He made his senior debut for the Netherlands national team that same year. At UEFA Euro 1988, Van Basten played a pivotal role in the victorious Dutch team. He scored a total of five goals, including a hat trick against England, the winning goal in the semi-final against West Germany, and a spectacular volley in the final against the Soviet Union.[14] He finished top scorer and was named player of the tournament.[2] In 2002 the UK public voted Van Basten's volley against the Soviet Union #21 in the list of the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments.[15]

The Dutch national team exited the 1990 FIFA World Cup early, losing to West Germany in the second round. Van Basten never scored in the World Cup Finals.

The Netherlands reached the semi-final of UEFA Euro 1992 when they lost to Denmark in a penalty shootout, with Peter Schmeichel saving a penalty shot from Van Basten.[2]

After retirement

It is between Romário and Van Basten

Diego Maradona on who was the best player he ever saw.[16]

Van Basten played in the Demetrio Albertini testimonial at the San Siro in March 2006, and headed in a goal before being substituted early in the first half. On 22 July 2006, he also returned for the testimonial to celebrate the 11-year Arsenal career of Dennis Bergkamp, in what was the first game played at the new Emirates Stadium. He played in the second half for the Ajax legends team. He entered the match as part of a double substitution that also introduced Johan Cruyff. He took part in Tyskie's (Polish beer) advertising campaign with Luis Figo and Zbigniew Boniek

Managing career

Ajax B

Van Basten while manager of the Netherlands.

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 Dutch 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 2003–04.


On 29 July 2004,[17] Van Basten was named the new manager of the Dutch national team, with van 't Schip as his assistant.

As a manager, he soon established himself as a man of strong principles. Van Basten famously dropped regulars like Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Edgar Davids and Roy Makaay and benched Mark van Bommel, because he believed that they were either past their prime or constantly underachieving.

There were also calls for Van Basten to call up Dennis Bergkamp, who had retired from the national team six 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.

For probably the first time in decades, none of the "Big Three" Clubs (Ajax, PSV, and Feyenoord) provided the backbone for the national team. Instead, newcomer AZ led the way with players such as Denny Landzaat, Barry Opdam, Barry van Galen, Ron Vlaar, Jan Kromkamp and Joris Mathijsen. Other unheralded choices were Khalid Boulahrouz, Hedwiges Maduro, Ryan Babel and Romeo Castelen selected. Van Basten had also wanted to include Ivorian forward Salomon Kalou, but was thwarted when Kalou was denied Dutch citizenship by the immigration authorities headed by Rita Verdonk. Kalou eventually accepted a call-up to play for Côte d'Ivoire.

Van Basten (left) with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar during training prior to Euro 2008.

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 28 goals for the Netherlands) before this game, in favour of Dirk Kuyt, who did not score throughout the entire tournament.

In November 2006, Van Basten recalled exiled Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf for a friendly against England at the Amsterdam ArenA. In May 2007, Van Basten announced the end of his long-running dispute with Van Nistelrooy, who had previously declared never to play for a Dutch national squad with Van Basten as its manager.[18] Other players, such as Roy Makaay, Mark van Bommel, Boudewijn Zenden, and Edgar Davids, however, remained out of favour.

Van Basten had a contract with the KNVB for managing the Dutch national side until 2008. The KNVB had expressed its wishes to extend his contract to include the World Cup qualification route to 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. On 22 February 2008, Van Basten signed a four-year contract with Ajax, starting from 1 July.[19] His last tournament thus was the UEFA Euro 2008, where the Netherlands surprised with a strong round 1 performance. They beat World Champions Italy 3–0 in their first match, followed by a 4–1 win over World Cup runners-up France. In their third game, already qualified for the next round, Van Basten selected non-regulars such as Maarten Stekelenburg, Wilfred Bouma and Ibrahim Afellay for the starting lineup against Romania, a match the 'Oranje' won 2–0. In the quarter finals, Van Basten faced fellow Dutchman Guus Hiddink's Russia. With the score at 1–1 after 90 minutes, Hiddink and Russia went on to win the match 3–1.

AFC Ajax

Van Basten became manager of Ajax after Euro 2008 but resigned on 6 May 2009 after his team failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. Van Basten started the season well, having spent millions on players such as Miralem Sulejmani, Ismaïl Aissati, Darío Cvitanich, Evander Sno, Eyong Enoh and Oleguer Presas Renom. However, in the second half of the season striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar left for Real Madrid, and Van Basten started switching around his lineups. When Ajax lost eleven points in four games, the Eredivisie title was out of sight. Ajax could, however, still get second place, which would have ensured a place in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. But after two big losses against PSV (6–2) and Sparta Rotterdam (4–0) Van Basten's Ajax could only make it to number three. Van Basten decided to resign as Ajax manager at the end of the 2008–09 season. After this, Van Basten became a pundit for Sport1, but was still planning to return as a manager.

SC Heerenveen

On 13 February 2012, it was announced that Van Basten would become the manager of Eredivisie club Heerenveen in the 2012–13 season. Van Basten lead Heerenveen to an eighth place finish in the 2012–13 year campaign. He then lead them to a fifth place finish the following season, the 2013-14 campaign.

AZ Alkmaar

AZ announced on 18 April 2014 that Van Basten would replace Dick Advocaat at the start of the 2014–15 season.[20] On 28 August 2014, Van Basten took a leave of absence for the following game against FC Dordrecht, with multiple Dutch news reporting he was suffering of stress-related heart palpitations, and was replaced by assistant coaches Alex Pastoor and Dennis Haar.[21][22][23] Later on 3 September, AZ Alkmaar confirmed Van Basten was given an extended leave of absence until 14 September.[22][23] On 16 September, parties agreed Van Basten would relinquish his role as manager in order to sign a new contract as assistant coach until 2016; this was motivated by Van Basten himself, who stated the stress caused by his full-time role as head coach was causing him physical and mental issues.[24]


Career statistics


Van Basten playing against PSV in 1986 for Ajax, where he played from 1981-1987.
Season Club League League Cup Europe[nb 1] Other[nb 2] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Netherlands League KNVB Cup Europe Other Total
1981–82 Ajax Eredivisie 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 1
1982–83 20 9 5 4 0 0 25 13
1983–84 26 28 4 1 2 0 32 29
1984–85 33 22 4 2 4 5 41 29
1985–86 26 37 1 0 2 0 29 37
1986–87 27 31 7 6 9 6 43 43
Total 133 128 22 13 17 11 172 152
Italy Serie A Coppa Italia Europe Other Total
1987–88 Milan Serie A 11 3 5 5 3 0 19 8
1988–89 33 19 4 3 9 9 1 1 47 32
1989–90 26 19 4 1 9 4 1 0 40 24
1990–91 31 11 1 0 2 0 1 0 35 11
1991–92 31 25 7 4 38 29
1992–93 15 13 1 0 5 6 1 1 22 20
1993–94 -
1994–95 -
Total 147 90 22 13 28 19 4 2 201 124
Career totals 280 218 44 26 45 30 4 2 373 276


Netherlands national team
Year Apps Goals
1983 3 2
1984 3 0
1985 4 1
1986 4 2
1987 4 1
1988 9 5
1989 5 2
1990 11 8
1991 5 2
1992 10 1
Total 58 24


As of 28 February 2014.
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Netherlands 29 July 2004 21 June 2008 52 35 11 6 67.31
Ajax 1 July 2008 6 May 2009 45 26 8 11 57.78
Heerenveen[37] 1 July 2012 1 July 2014 72 27 18 27 37.50
AZ 1 July 2014 16 September 2014 5 2 0 3 40.00
Total 171 90 37 44 52.63

International matches


      Win       Draw       Loss


  1. ^ Includes UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup (1989)
  2. ^ Includes 1988 Supercoppa Italiana, 1989 Intercontinental Cup, 1990 Intercontinental Cup, 1992 Supercoppa Italiana


  1. ^ "Biography for Marco van Basten". IMDb. Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Van Basten, a Dutch goal machine". Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "10 Greatest Goals in the European Championships". FourFourTwo. 2008-05-08. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  4. ^ "IFFHS Century Elections". – International Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "FIFA Player of the Century". FIFA. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  6. ^ "The Best x Players of the Century/All-Time". RSSSF. Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  7. ^ "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Top Ten: Careers Cut Short". Sky Sportzine. Retrieved 23 January 2009. 
  9. ^ "There's only one Marco van Basten: AC Milan's Dutch legend may never be surpassed". Retrieved 31 March 2013
  10. ^ Bandini, Paolo (14 December 2007). "How Capello won his nine league titles".  
  11. ^ "Classic Highlights: 1994 Champions League Final – AC Milan v Barcelona".
  12. ^ Winter, Henry (4 June 1994). "Football: Uefa Cup call for Newcastle: St James' Park delighted at return to Europe while Dubliners plan a huge send-off". The Independent (London). 
  13. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE: SOCCER; AC Milan's Van Basten Retires". The New York Times. 18 August 1995. 
  14. ^ Lacey, David (22 June 1988). "Marco's late hook floors the favourites".  
  15. ^ 100 Greatest sporting moments – results Channel 4. Retrieved 28 August 2014
  16. ^ "Ele Nao Se Cala". p. 74. Placar Magazine (Edition. 1315, Feb 2008). Retrieved 20 November 2013
  17. ^ "Van Basten given Dutch reins". The Guardian. 29 July 2004. Retrieved 17 September 2008. 
  18. ^ "Ruud makes his peace with Marco". yahoo sports. 
  19. ^ "Van Basten takes Ajax role". Sky Sports. 22 February 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  20. ^ "Van Basten übernimmt bei AZ Alkmaar". kicker (in German). 18 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  21. ^ "European Football - Health issues sideline AZ coach Van Basten". Yahoo! Eurosport. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "Van Basten given time to recover from health problems". Reuters. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  23. ^ a b "AZ Alkmaar coach Marco van Basten takes break due to health concerns". The Guardian. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  24. ^ "Eredivisie: Marco van Basten is to step down as AZ Alkmaar boss due to health issues". Sky Sports. 16 September 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g "Ajax Honours". Marco van Basten. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "AC Milan Honours". Marco van Basten. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  27. ^ a b "National Team Honours". Marco van Basten. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  28. ^ a b Onze Mondial" Awards""". RSSSF. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  29. ^ "1988 UEFA European Championship". UEFA. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  30. ^ "1992 team of the tournament". UEFA. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  31. ^ "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  32. ^ "Marco van Basten career stats". Football Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  33. ^ "Marco van Basten Ajax stats". Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  34. ^ "van Basten, Marco". National Football Teams. Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  35. ^ Marco van Basten – Matches in European Cups". RSSSF. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  36. ^ "Marco van Basten – Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  37. ^ "SC Heerenveen matches". Retrieved 22 December 2012. 
  38. ^ Matches as manager. Wereld van Oranje. Retrieved 29 January 2013.

External links

  • Marco van Basten – FIFA competition record
  • Marco van Basten extensive profile at AC Milan Online
  • Marco van Basten profile and stats at Wereld van Oranje (Dutch)
  • Marco van Basten dedicated fanpage
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