Over time, the Dutch national football team put out some truly outstanding players, most of whom surpassed the status of Dutch football stars and became famous at the international level. Here is a rundown of all-time Dutch football stars that includes players like Dennis Bergkamp, Johan Cruyff, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard or Marco Van Basten, players who have changed the way the game played and made their name in the international halls of fame. But enough rambling, let’s get down to business:
Dutch Football Star – Johan Cruyff
Cruyff is considered the most important Dutch footballer of all time and he earned legendary status wherever he played, be it for Ajax Amsterdam, FC Barcelona or even Feyenoord. Cruyff is also considered third on the list of the greatest footballers of all time, following Pele and Maradona closely (some even say he is more than Maradona, as Maradona has feats of brilliance combined with poor play, whereas Cruyff maintains high standards for himself all . throughout his career). He redefined modern football as we know it with his style of play and vision on the pitch and many football specialists agree that Johan Cruyff is one of the brightest and most calculated players to have ever tasted the turf of a football stadium.
Dutch Football Star – Ruud Gullit
Gullit was one of the most important Dutch football stars during the 80s and 90s and he was among the first to define a “complete midfielder”. That means he can play almost any position in midfield that his coach would place him in, from a defensive role to a supporting playmaker or attacking midfielder. Together with Marco Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, he managed to bring the Netherlands their first international trophy, winning the 1988 European Championship.
Dutch Football Star – Frank Rijkaard
Together with Gullit and van Basten, Rijkaard formed the internationally renowned midfield triangle for his club, AC Milan and his national team. Based on this triangle, AC Milan had a very successful period, winning the European Cup (Today’s Champions League) twice and the Serie A championship in two editions. The same success soon came at the national level as well, as the Netherlands won the 1988 European Championship with a team based on three outstanding players. Although Frank Rijkaard doesn’t stand out like Ruud Gullit or van Basten, as he has a more defensive role in the squad, but playing alongside two “side kicks” he will form an unstoppable midfield for any team.
Dutch Football Star – Marco Van Basten
While no one has been able to reach Johan Cruyff’s throne as the most important Dutch football star of all time, van Basten comes quite close and definitely closer than anyone else can. His extraordinary career at Ajax and AC Milan as well as his goals for the Dutch national team made many people look to Cruyff’s successor in van Basten. Unfortunately, after several successful seasons with AC Milan and winning the European Championship with his native country in 1988, van Basten suffered a career-ending injury to one of his ankles, when he was only 30 years old.
Dutch Football Star – Dennis Bergkamp
Dennis Bergkamp was part of a certain group of strikers: the ones who seemed harmless for 85 minutes of the game, only to have the other team forgotten for the remaining 5 minutes. Bergkamp will probably remain known in the football history books for three things: his fear of flying which did not allow him to join matches abroad, his incredible goals (fewer than many other strikers, but certainly more artful) and his loyalty to English club Arsenal London, for whom Bergkamp played for 11 seasons.
Niv Orlian is the author and owner of the Soccer Fans website which provides information on various soccer-related topics such as football history, rules, famous soccer playersnews, statistics and real-time training guides.