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Where are they now? Marco Van Basten

Today’s write up is a bittersweet one.

Had he been graced with more luck and less injuries, his numbers, although already sky high, would have been out of this world. Messi and Ronaldo would have been chasing his records and trying to beat them, no doubt about that. However, fate had other plans for him and today, us Rossoneri around the globe, still remember him as one of the world’s greatest number 9s.

Born in Utrecht, Marco started his footballing career with local clubs from his hometown. At the age of 16, he signed for Dutch powerhouse Ajax Amsterdam where he won 8 major titles during his 6-year spell with an average of almost a goal per match. In the summer of 1987, Silvio Berlusconi, signed him for AC Milan who later also signed 2 other Dutch masterclass football players, Gullit and Rijkaard.

His first Serie A campaign wasn’t a memorable one, as his ankle injury limited him to just 11 games in total, despite the Rossoneri lifting the Scudetto. Following that, Milan won the European Cup for 2 consecutive years, with Van Basten shining by scoring twice in the final against Romanian side, Steaua Bucaresti. He was also a pivotal point in the winning of 2 scudetto’s in 91/92 and 92/93, seeing the Rossoneri unbeaten for 58 consecutive league matches, including the entire 91/92 season. Unluckily for him and the whole football world, Marco’s worsening ankle together with a number of unsuccessful surgeries forced him to miss the following 2 seasons. He did attempt a comeback, however his ankle forced him otherwise and he retired in 1995 at only 30 years of age whilst having played his last game at 28. He announced his retirement in a press conference, simply saying “The news is short and sweet, this is me announcing my retirement from football”. A very sad day indeed. No wonder why Fabio Capello, one of the toughest and strictest coaches of all time, sat down and cried during Marco’s last run around the San Siro whilst saluting the supporters.

During his spell with Milan, Van Basten was nicknamed the Swan of Utrecht, mainly for his elegance and intelligence with the ball. He was a complete striker and we can go for hours explaining and praising his traits as a football player and his statistics fully back this up. He scored 124 goals in a total of 201 matches with Rossoneri, whilst winning 3 Scudettos, 2 Italian SuperCups, 2 UEFA Champions League, 1 European Cup and 1 Intercontinental Cup. Individually, he has a plethora of titles under his belt, namely 3 Ballon d’Ors, FIFA World Player of the Year, 3 UEFA Best Player of the Year, European Cup Top Scorer and 2 Serie A Golden Boot, to name a few.

Following his short player career, Van Basten went on a few spells at managerial jobs with the Ajax B side, AZ and Heerenveen. Also, he was appointed as the Netherlands head coach for 4 consecutive years in which he led them to qualify for the 2006 World Cup without a loss. In 2016, he retired from the managerial roles and took the position of technical director at FIFA for 2 years. Following that experience, Van Basten resigned and chose to spend his time with family.


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