The Swan Of Utrecht

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He is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. He scored goals in a high-profile career, but played his last match in at age 28 due to an injury which forced his retirement two years later. Playing for the Netherlands, Van Basten won UEFA Euro where he was named player of the tournament, scoring five goals that included a memorable volley in the final against the Soviet Union. Known for his close ball control, attacking intelligence, impeccable headers, and spectacular strikes and volleys , Van Basten was named FIFA World Player of the Year in and won the Ballon d'Or three times, in , and In , Sky Sports ranked Van Basten first on its list of great athletes who had their careers cut short.

Marco van Basten was born on 31 October 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. Ajax gave 16 year old Van Basten his debut —82 season after his 20 year old brother Stanley was rejected April , scoring in the 5—0 victory over NEC. In the —83 season , he competed with the European top scorer and first choice Holland international 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 following season, the 18 year old Van Basten solidified his position as his team's main attacker while Kieft left for Italy. He became a top scorer in the league for four seasons from —84 to —87, scoring goals in matches. In the —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.

In total he scored goals in league matches for Ajax. Milan , with fellow countrymen Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard joining in In his first season, Milan won their first Scudetto in eight years, but Van Basten played only 11 matches and was constantly troubled by an ankle injury.

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Milan struggled in the —91 season , as Sampdoria won the Scudetto. Fabio Capello took over the following season, and Milan went undefeated in the league to win another Scudetto.

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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. His troublesome ankle injury [13] recurred in a game against Ancona , forcing him to endure another six months layoff.


He returned for the last few matches in the season, before Milan lost 1—0 to Marseille in the Champions League final. The match was Van Basten's final match for the Italian club.

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Van Basten had been hopeful of playing for his country at the World Cup as well as for his club in the —95 season after spending the whole —94 season out of action missing Milan's victory in the European Cup as well as their Serie A title glory , [15] but his club ordered him not to take part in the World Cup amid fear of ruining his rehabilitation. Father Joop proudly declared before he died that he had no regrets whatsoever of his son's shortened career because "Marco became a top, top player and fulfilled all my hopes and dreams".

Joop himself was a semi professional in Holland in the 's but attended his son's every game at Ajax and Milan. Van Basten made a farewell appearance to thank the Milan fans before a home game at the San Siro , with an emotional Milan coach Fabio Capello breaking down in tears. He made his senior debut for the Netherlands national team that same year.

He scored a total of five goals, including a hat trick against England , the winning goal in the semi-final against West Germany , [18] and a spectacular volley from an acute angle in the final against the Soviet Union. Rising England defender Tony Adams admitted he was a mismatch to van Basten in the historic defeat that sent England out of the tournament. Van Basten never scored in the World Cup Finals but was the highest scorer in the history of the European Championship having competed in and The Netherlands played with real swagger having trounced World Champions Germany to reach the semi-final of UEFA Euro where they shockingly lost to the eventual champions Denmark in a penalty shootout , with Peter Schmeichel saving a penalty shot from Van Basten.

Van Basten played in the Demetrio Albertini testimonial at the San Siro in March , and headed in a goal before being substituted early in the first half. On 22 July , he also returned for the testimonial to celebrate the year Arsenal career of Dennis Bergkamp , in what was the first match 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. A complete striker with a great skill set, Van Basten was dubbed the "Swan Of Utrecht" for his elegance and intelligent play with a penchant for scoring acrobatic goals. Although he was mainly known as a traditional attacker who operated in the penalty area throughout his career, [23] in addition to his goalscoring ability, Van Basten possessed excellent vision and distribution, which enabled him to play in deeper, more creative positions and provide assists to his teammates, the most notable of which was his assist to Frank Rijkaard for Milan's winning goal in the European Cup final.

Marco Simone who learned from van Basten as a young striker at Milan famously said he would have given a year of his own career just to watch van Basten play. Lack of protection from referees and inadequate football rules against rugged defending was identified as the source of his career's demise at a wretchedly early age of In FIFA outlawed the tackle from behind and an automatic red became a norm for tackles with studs showing. One of the most marketable players in the world, in the late s Diadora launched his own personalized football boots, the San Siro Van Basten, earning him two million dollars over 5 years.

Van Basten officially left Milan in and retired from football, stating he would never try management. 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 — On 29 July , Van Basten was named the new manager of the Netherlands 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.

The Swan of Utrecht

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. 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 Dutch Minister of Integration Rita Verdonk. Kalou eventually accepted a call-up to play for Ivory Coast.

Under his guidance, the team were unbeaten in their World Cup qualification group and made it through the group stages at the World Cup , but were eliminated in a frenzied 1—0 loss to Portugal in the Round of Van Basten was heavily criticised for dropping Ruud van Nistelrooy before this match, in favour of Dirk Kuyt , who did not score throughout the entire tournament. In May , Van Basten announced the end of his long-running dispute with Ruud van Nistelrooy, who had previously declared never to play for a Dutch national squad with Van Basten as its manager.

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 match, 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.

With the score at 1—1 after 90 minutes, Hiddink and Russia went on to win the match 3—1. He finished his reign with a record of 35 wins, 11 draws and six losses in 52 matches. Van Basten became manager of Ajax after Euro but resigned on 6 May after his team failed to qualify for the Champions League.

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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 11 points in four matches, the Eredivisie title was out of sight. However, Ajax could still finish in second position, which would have ensured a place in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. Van Basten decided to resign as Ajax manager at the end of the —09 season. Subsequently, Van Basten became a pundit for Sport1 , but was still planning to return as a manager.

He finished his reign with a record of 26 wins, 8 draws and 11 losses in 45 matches. On 13 February , it was announced that Van Basten would become the manager of Eredivisie club Heerenveen in the —13 season. He then lead them to a fifth-place finish the following season, the —14 campaign. He finished his reign with a record of 27 wins, 18 draws and 27 losses in 72 matches.

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After a year at AZ, Van Basten decided to take up the vacant post of assistant coach under the new head coach of the Netherlands national team, Danny Blind. Attending the Tehran derby, Van Basten called for the ban on women entering sports venues to be lifted. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Dutch association football player and manager.

In this Dutch name , the family name is van Basten , not Basten. His early retirement was a mortal misfortune for him, for football, and for Milan. Retrieved 27 June Retrieved 23 October Retrieved 8 October Retrieved 19 November Archived from the original on 20 August Retrieved 6 April BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 June Sky Sportzine. Archived from the original on 28 February Retrieved 23 January Retrieved 25 June Retrieved 18 June The Guardian.

The Independent. The New York Times. Here are 10 of the best". Retrieved 4 January London: Channel 4. Archived from the original on 4 February Retrieved 6 December Union of European Football Associations.

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