Name

Marcel 'Marco' Van Basten

Date of Birth

31.10.1964 (Utrecht, Holland)

Height

1.88m

Position

Striker

Nationality

Dutch

3 x Dutch League : 1981-1982, 1982-1983, 1984-1985
3 x Dutch Cup :
1982-1983, 1985-1986, 1986-1987
3 x Italian League :
1987-1988, 1991-1992, 1992-1993
1 x Cup Winners Cup :
1986-1987
2 x European Cup :
1988-1989, 1989-1990
2 x European Super Cup :
1989, 1990
2 x Intercontinental Cup :
1989, 1990
1 x European Championship :
1988
4 x Dutch League Top Scorer :
1983-1984, 1984-1985,
1985-1986, 1986-1987
2 x Italian League Top Scorer :
1989-1990, 1991-1992
1 x Golden Boot :
1985-1986
1 x European Championship Top Scorer :
1988
1 x FIFA World Player of the Year :
1992
2 x World Soccer Player of the Year :
1988, 1992
3 x European Footballer of the Year :
1988, 1989, 1992
 

Season

Team

Games

Goals

Position

1981-82

Ajax

1

1

1st

1982-83

Ajax

20

9

1st

1983-84

Ajax

26

28

3rd

1984-85

Ajax

33

22

1st

1985-86

Ajax

26

37

2nd

1986-87

Ajax

27

31

2nd

1987-88

Milan

11

3

1st

1988-89

Milan

33

19

3rd

1989-90

Milan

26

19

2nd

1990-91

Milan

31

11

3rd

1991-92

Milan

31

25

1st

1992-93

Milan

15

13

1st

 

Ajax

133

128

0.96 GPG

 

Milan

147

90

0.61 GPG

 

Cup Winners Cup

9

6

0.67 GPG

 

European Cup

27

18

0.67 GPG

 

UEFA Cup

7

5

0.71 GPG

 

Netherlands

58

24

0.41 GPG

 

Totals

381

271

0.71 GPG

 
Milan President Silvio Berlusconi sat down with Vice President Adriano Galliani in front
of a television set and searched for a new striker. After watching 10 of Van Basten's
goals, Berlusconi stopped the videotape and told Galliani to sign him.

Van Basten arrived at the San Siro having scored the winning goal in the 1987
Cup Winners Cup final and an incredible 128 goals in 133 league games for Ajax.
He struggled with injury in his first season in Serie A but returned in time to score
the winning goal in a crucial 2-3 victory away to Napoli which effectively sealed the
Championship for Milan. The following month during the 1988 European
Championship in Germany he established himself as the best striker in the World.

Having watched from the bench as the Dutch fell to Russia in their opening match,
Van Basten started the next game against England and scored a hat-trick, the first
and so far only player since the great Ferenc Puskas to do so. He then scored the
winning goal in a dramatic semi-final victory over hosts Germany and in the final
against Russia made the opening goal for Ruud Gullit and then scored what is
generally considered to be one of the greatest goals of all time. From an impossible
angle on the right side of goal Van Basten blasted a spectacular volley into the top
left corner of the net. To this day it remains one of the most replayed goals in
football history. Unsurprisingly he was elected European Footballer of the Year.

Over the next two seasons Van Basten was a key figure in Arrigo Sacchi's all
conquering Milan side, winning two successive European Cups, European Super
Cups and Intercontinental Cups. He scored two goals in the 1989 European Cup
final and made the winning goal for Frank Rijkaard in the 1990 European Cup final.

Van Basten and his fellow Dutchmen at Milan (Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard)
were expected to win the 1990 World Cup in Italy but, admit rumours of internal
conflict, fell to arch rivals Germany in the second round.

Van Basten's World Cup hang-over continued throughout the following season.
He was sent off for a violent elbow in a Champions League match and subsequently
missed Milan's exit at the hands of Marseille. Frustrated with Milan coach Arrigo
Sacchi's insistence of playing him as the lone striker in attack he apparently gave
President Silvio Berlusconi a him or me ultimatum - Sacchi left to coach Italy.

In 1991 under new coach Fabio Capello, Van Basten played some of the best football
of his career. He starred in a 5-0 victory over arch rivals Napoli. Scored three
hat-tricks. With the championship already won Milan trailed UEFA Cup hopefuls
Foggia 1-2 at half time and needed to avoid defeat to become the first team in
Serie A history to win a Championship without losing a match. Van Basten scored
twice and made several more as Milan ran out 2-8 winners.

Despite a personal best domestic season for Milan, Van Basten would once again
face frustration with the Dutch national team in the 1992 European Championships.
He failed to score in the tournament and missed the crucial penalty in a semi-final
shoot out against eventual winners Denmark.

Form for the national team aside Van Basten continued his sensational performances
throughout the remainder of 1992. He scored a hat-trick as Milan fought back from a
three goal deficit to defeat Pescara 4-5. Scored twice in a 3-7 thrashing of a Fiorentina
team featuring a young Gabriel Batistuta and Stefan Effenberg and scored four goals
away to Napoli. His four goals against IFK Gothenburg in a Champions League match,
including a trademark overhead kick, earned him his third European Footballer of the
Year award. A feat only matched by Michel Platini and his idol Johan Cruijff.

Just as he had reached his very peak his fragile right ankle once again failed him.
He injured it in a league match against Ancona but was rushed back to play in the
1993 European Cup final. Riddled with painkillers, he missed a glut of chances.
A murderous foul from behind in the second half by Basile Boli ended his career.

Over the next two years Van Basten underwent several ankle operations while Milan
still paid his wages, thought to be what was at the time a record 2.5 million a year.

Following discussions with Van Basten, FIFA, the World game's governing body,
'banned' the tackle from behind on the eve of the World Cup finals though
implementation of this rule remains inconsistent.

Van Basten 'officially' retired in 1995 having played his last game for Milan in 1993.
Despite calls for him to go into management he distanced himself from the game
for almost a decade before making an expected return in 2002 in a coaching role
with first club Ajax. Even more surprising was his appointment as Dutch national
team coach after Euro 2004.

Scoring spectacular goals, in particular volleys and overhead kicks, were his
trademark. Van Basten was a tall, strong, quick player blessed with World Class
athleticism. A complete forward - dangerous with both left and right foot,
sensational in the air and equally adept at making goals as well as scoring
them. His performances in big matches, particularly finals, were nothing short of
outstanding. Arguably the greatest striker in the history of this sport, unquestionably
one of the greatest players of all time.

Key Attributes : Goalscoring, flair, athleticism