Sports Legendaries – Holland Football Stars
Throughout time, Holland gave out some truly outstanding football players, most of them surpassing the status of Holland football stars and becoming famous on an international level. Give me 5 minutes of your time and I’ll give you an overview of Holland’s all-time football stars that includes players such as Dennis Bergkamp, Johan Cruyff, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard or Marco Van Basten, players that have changed the way the game is played and marked their name in the international hall of fame. But enough blabber, let’s get down to business:
Cruyff is considered THE most important Dutch football player of all times and he gained legendary status wherever he played, be it for Ajax Amsterdam, FC Barcelona or even Feyenoord. Cruyff is also considered third in a list of the best all times football players, following Pele and Maradona closely (some even say he was over Maradona, as Maradona had feats of brilliance combined with poor games, whereas Cruyff kept a high standard for himself all throughout his career). He redefined modern football as we know it with his game style and vision on the pitch and many football specialists agree that Johan Cruyff was one of the smartest and most calculated players ever to feel the grass of a football stadium.
Gullit was one of the most important Holland football stars during the 80s and 90s and he was amongst the first to define the “complete midfielder”. That meant that he could play almost any position in midfield his coach would place him in, from a defensive role to a supporting playmaker or an attacking midfielder. Together with Marco Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, he succeeded in bringing Holland their first international cup ever, winning the 1988 European Championship.
Together with Gullit and van Basten, Rijkaard formed an internationally renowned midfield triangle for both his club, AC Milan and his national side. Based on this triangle, AC Milan had a tremendously successful period, winning the European Cup (today’s Champions League) twice and the Serie A championship on two editions. The same success soon came on at national level as well, as the Holland national football team won the 1988 European Championship with a team based on the three magnificent players. Although Frank Rijkaard didn’t stand out as much as Ruud Gullit or van Basten, since he had a more defensive role in the squad, but playing alongside his two “side-kicks” he would form an unstoppable midfield for any team.
Marco Van Basten
Although no one can reach Johan Cruyff’s throne as the most important Holland football star of all time, van Basten came close enough and definitely closer than anyone else could. His tremendous career at Ajax and AC Milan as well as his goals for the Holland national football team made a lot of people see Cruyff’s successor in van Basten. Unfortunately, after several successful seasons with AC Milan and winning the European Championship with his home country in 1988, van Basten suffered a career-ending injury at one of his ankles, when he was just age 30.
Dennis Bergkamp was part of a particular group of strikers: those guys that seem harmless 85 minutes of the match, only to blast the other team into oblivion for the remaining 5. Bergkamp will probably remain known in the history book of football by three things: his fear of flight that didn’t allow him to join overseas matches, his incredible goals (fewer than many other strikers, but definitely more artful) and his loyalty for English side Arsenal London, for whom Bergkamp played for 11 seasons.