He was born in Amsterdam and his career started with Haarlem before moving to Feyenoord and then PSV Eindhoven. He was taken to Italy by Silvio Berlusconi, who paid the then record fee of £6 million for him. Playing for the great A.C. Milan team of the late 1980s, which starred, among others, fellow countrymen Marco Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, Italian world class players Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi, he helped Milan capture three Serie A titles and two European Cups (1989, 1990) during Milan's amazing five year reign from 1988–1992. He was well known for his heading and jumping ability, among his other creative talents as an outstanding offensive midfielder. Widely agreed to be one of the best and most creative players the Netherlands, or as a matter of fact, the world has ever seen.
He was also one of the core batch of players that led the Netherlands to the 1988 European Championship title, to date, the only international title the Netherlands has achieved.
He was appointed manager of Newcastle United in 1998 where success was initially promised, with an FA Cup Final appearance in his first season. The following season, however, results and fans began to turn against him, and a well-publicised contretemps with star striker and local hero Alan Shearer did his survival prospects no favours. He also fell out with Newcastle captain Robert Lee. Ruud Gullit resigned as manager of Newcastle United only 5 games into the 2000–2001 season, following a home defeat to local rivals Sunderland. Popular opinion had it that he resigned as manager before he was pushed out. He spent several years limited to occasional football punditry, but is currently managing the Feyenoord squad starting season 2004/2005.
|European Footballer of the Year|
Marco van Basten