Marco van Basten
Marco van Basten2
Personal information
Full nameMarcel van Basten
Date of birth (1964-10-31) 31 1964 (age 54)
Place of birthUtrecht, Netherlands
Playing positionStriker
Club information
Current clubHeerenveen (manager)
Youth career
1980–1981USV Elinkwijk
Senior career*
National team
1981Netherlands U2115(13)
Teams managed
2003–2004Jong Ajax
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Marcel "Marco" van Basten (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.[1] 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.[1][2] 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 strength on the ball, tactical awareness and spectacular strikes and volleys, Van Basten was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1992, and European Footballer of the Year three times (1988, 1989 and 1992).[1] In 1999, Van Basten was ranked sixth in the FIFA Player of the Century internet poll, tenth in the European player of the Century election held by the IFFHS, and he was voted twelfth in the IFFHS' World Player of the Century election.[3][4] He was also voted eighth in a poll organised by the French magazine France Football consulting their former Ballon d'Or winners to elect the Football Player of the Century.[5] In 2004, he was named by Pelé as one of the 125 greatest living footballers at a FIFA awards ceremony.[6] In 2004, a nationwide poll in the Netherlands was held for the 100 greatest Dutch people (De Grootste Nederlander) and Van Basten was 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.[7]

Playing careerEdit

Joop Hiele, Marco van Basten 1983

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

Early yearsEdit

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 AjaxEdit

Marco van Basten met de KNVB beker

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.

AC MilanEdit

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.

In 1988–89, Van Basten won the Ballon d'Or as Europe's top footballer. He scored 19 goals in Serie A and scored two goals in the final of the European Cup as Milan triumphed against Steaua Bucureşti.

Marco van Basten ACMilan

Van Basten in action for A.C. Milan.

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.

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.

In November 1992, he became the first player to score four goals in a Champions League match, against IFK Göteborg, including a picture perfect bicycle kick. 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.

Milan stretched their unbeaten run into the 1992–93 season, going 58 matches over two seasons before they lost a game. 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.

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[8]

His troublesome ankle injury[9] 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.

He 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),[10] but his club ordered him not to take part in the World Cup amid fear of ruining his rehabilitation.[11] 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.[12]

After retirementEdit

It is between Romário and Van Basten

Diego Maradona on who was the best player he ever saw.[13]

He 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.


Marco van Basten, Rene Eijkelkamp 1989

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 that same year. At the UEFA Euro 1988, Van Basten 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.[1]

The Dutch national team exited early in the World Cup in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, 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.

Managing careerEdit

Ajax BEdit

Van Basten Oranje

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,[15] 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 huntelaar

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 Real Madrid forward Ruud van Nistelrooy, who had previously declared never to play for a Dutch national squad with Van Basten as its manager.[16]Template:Dead link 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.[17] 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 AjaxEdit

Van Basten became trainer 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 HeerenveenEdit

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.


Template:Col-begin Template:Col-2

AFC Ajax
AC Milan


Individual honoursEdit


Career statistics Edit

Club Edit

Marco van Basten (Ajax), Adick Koot (PSV)

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
1981–82AjaxEredivisie 11100021
1982–83 20954002513
1983–84 262841203229
1984–85 332242454129
1985–86 263710202937
1986–87 273176964343
Total 13312822131711172152
Italy Serie A Coppa Italia Europe Other Total
1987–88MilanSerie A 1135530198
1988–89 33194399114732
1989–90 26194194104024
1990–91 31111020103511
1991–92 3125743829
1992–93 15131056112220
1993–94 -
1994–95 -
Total 147902213281942201124
Career totals 2802184426453042373276

International Edit


Netherlands national team
Year Apps Goals
1983 32
1984 30
1985 41
1986 42
1987 41
1988 95
1989 52
1990 118
1991 52
1992 101
Total 5824



Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Netherlands 29 July 2004 21 June 2008


Ajax 1 July 2008 6 May 2009


Heerenveen[23] 1 July 2012 Present




International matchesEdit

Template:Incomplete[24]       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. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Template:Citeweb
  2. Script error
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  4. "FIFA Player of the Century". FIFA. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
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  8. "There's only one Marco van Basten: AC Milan's Dutch legend may never be surpassed". Retrieved 31 March 2013
  9. Script error
  10. "Classic Highlights: 1994 Champions League Final – AC Milan v Barcelona".
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  13. "Ele Nao Se Cala". p. 74. Placar Magazine (Edition. 1315, Feb 2008). Retrieved 20 November 2013
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  21. Marco van Basten – Matches in European Cups". RSSSF. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  22. "Marco van Basten – Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  23. Script error
  24. Matches as manager. Wereld van Oranje. Retrieved 29 January 2013.

External linksEdit

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