Happy birthday Marco van Basten!

Marco van Basten in 2008
Marco van Basten in 2008

Marcel “Marco” van Basten (photo ©Jacoplane) was born on October 31, 1964 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Marco van Basten started playing football when he was six, following in his father’s footsteps. In 1982 he made his debut with the Dutch national under-18 and the first team of Ajax Amsterdam, with which he won the Eredivisie title two years in a row and the Dutch Cup in the 1982-1983 season.

Quickly, Marco van Basten emerged as a scorer and in the season 1983-1984 he was the top scorer in the Dutch league. Ajax won the Dutch league title in the 1984-1985 season and also the Dutch Cup in the 1985-1986 and 1986-1987 seasons. In the last season he also won the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. In 1986, however, his physical problems to his right ankle started, with the first injury and the first surgery.

In 1987, Marco van Basten moved to Italy, to Milan, along with his coutryman Ruud Gullit. His first season was difficult because of an ankle injury that allowed him to play just a few games but the team managed to win the league title.

In 1988, Marco van Basten won the European Championship with the Dutch national team scoring the winning goal in the semifinal and a spectacular goal in the final against USSR.

In the 1988-1989 season, in which his other coutryman Frank Rijkaard arrived to Milan, Marco van Basten won the Ballon d’Or but and above all the Italian title and the European Cup. In the 1989-1990 season he was top scorer in the Italian league and won the Ballon d’Or and the European Cup again. In the 1990-1991 season he won the Intercontinental Cup.

In the 1991-1992 season Milan had the new manager Fabio Capello and Marco van Basten got back to being the top scorer in Serie A and won the third Ballon d’Or and the Italian title again, this time for three seasons in a row. Not everything went well during those years because in 1992 he had another ankle surgery because he was having problems again, getting forced to another four months stop.

In June 1993, Marco van Basten had ankle surgery again, still tried to get back to playing but after two years he had to surrender. At just 30, one of the most extraordinary players in football history was forced to retire.

Marco van Basten’s elegance and extraordinary technique exalted his fans and gained the respect of his opponents. Despite his considerable height, 1.88 meters (6’2″), his ball control was great and in the course of his career he scored decisive goals in several occasions showing that he was a true champion.

In 2003, Marco van Basten started a new career as a manager with Jong Ajax. Subsequently, he became the manager of the Dutch national team, until 2008. He became manager of Ajax but after one season he resigned because he couldn’t lead the team to the Champions League.

In 2012, Marco van Basten was appointed manager of Heerenveen, where he remained for two seasons. In April 2014 he reached a deal to become manager of AZ Alkmaar but in September he left that position to become an assistant manager citing the excessive stress of the full-time job.

It’s not clear what Marco van Basten will do in the future. He’s married and has three children so he has a family that makes him happy. Even if he leaves football he has already made ​​the history of this sport as a player.

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