Soccer Fanatic

Ruud Gullit is one of the most famous Dutch players in the world being a dominant figure in the game throughout the 1980's and 90's. His familiar dreadlocks were an iconic feature of his appearance and made him instantly recognisable within the Dutch team. His skill and ability to play in various positions on the pitch made him indispensible to any football team he played for.

ruud gullit football profile

Born in Amsterdam on September 1st 1962 his interest and flair for football showed at an early age while playing street football along with Frank Rijkaard who also went on to become a formidable player. Gullit was spotted and joined the Dutch Youth Team which gave him a great grounding for his first big break with FC Harlem who he signed for in 1978 turning down giant club Ajax along the way.

Gullit scored 32 goals in 91 league appearances for the club which was no mean feat for a player of such a young age being only 16. He was instrumental in success for FC Harlem as they reached the European Cup Finals for the first and only time in the clubs history. Gullit was becoming more and more in demand as a player and signed for FC Feyenoord in 1982 for the princely sum of 300,000. English teams at that time were unwilling to pay even 30,000 considering the player a risk. Playing alongside the legendary Johaan Cruyff Feyenoord won both the league and the cup the following season while Gullit was named the Dutch Player of the year.

A C Milan was the next club to snap Gullit up so joining other prolific Dutch players at the team. The following year A C Milan won the European Cup with Gullit playing an integral part in the achievement, up front scoring 2 goals in the final. The year of 1987 was to prove a great year for Gullit as he was named European player of the year an award he dedicated to Nelson Mandela who at that time was still imprisoned in South Africa.

1993 saw a move to Sampdoria and the winning of the Italian Cup ironically beating A C Milan in the final. Even stranger Gullit moved back to A C Milan for a short period then returned once again to Sampdoria under the guidance of Sven Goran Erikson who would later become England coach. As Gullit's playing career was nearing its end he moved to Chelsea Football Club on a free transfer. The year was 1995 and Chelsea were a mid table team but under the management of Glen Hoddle the team faired much better and Gullit was named runner up for player of the year behind Eric Cantona.

International football had few successes for Gullit making his debut at 19 years of age against Switzerland. Euro 88 was the only tournament that brought the Dutch team anything to smile about beating the USSR in the final with Gullit scoring one of the two winning goals. He retired from international football in 1994 after rowing with Dick Advocaat the coach but can be credited with winning 66 caps for his country and scoring 17 goals.

Gullit moved into management next while playing for Chelsea he also became coach when Glen Hoddle became England manager. Victory came for Chelsea in Gullit's first year in the form of the FA Cup. This silverware was the first for Chelsea in 26 years and Ruud was the first foreign manager to achieve this so his subsequent sacking by the Chelsea board the following year came as a huge Shock. Gullit was extremely upset and bewildered by the decision and some might say on the rebound when he took over the managers position at Newcastle united.

At Newcaslte Gullit was not popular with the fans or players resulting in his resignation from the post in 1990 after a very short term with the club. Positions followed at FC Feyenoord and Los Angeles Galaxy where he coached David Beckham plus was credited with raising the profile of Football in the United States. Gullit was also a pundit for the BBC and Interviewed Nelson Mandela his long time hero for Dutch television.

Below are some of the fantastic statistics surrounding the career of Ruud Gullit:

  1. Netherlands Player of the Year 1981
  2. Dutch footballer of the year 1984/1986
  3. Netherlands top scorer 1984
  4. European Footballer of the year /Dutch sportsman of the year 1987
  5. FIFA World player of the year 1987/1989
  6. Silver Best player of the year UEFA 1989
  7. Silver Ball English Player of the Year 1996
  8. Best Player of the Year Chelsea 1996
  9. Named in FIFA 100 Greatest footballers
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