Van Basten turns 50!


Regarded as one of the most prolific strikers of his time, van Basten started his career at Ajax Amsterdam, debutising as a 17-year-old in 1982 and scoring on in his first game in a 5-0 victory over NEC.

Affectionately known as the Swan of Utrecht, van Basten took the Eredivisie by storm, scoring 128 League goals in 133 appearances, and was the League’s top goal-scorer for four years in a row. Following three League and Cup trophies with Ajax, van Basten earned a lucrative move to Italian giants Milan.

The Dutch master continued to find the back of the net in Italy, helping the Rossoneri win back to back European Cups in 1989 and 1990 after winning the 1988 European Championships with the Netherlands. His 112 goals in 179 matches for Milan helped the Italian giants to four Serie A titles in his eight years at the club, as his career ended prematurely at the age of 30 as a result of recurring injuries.

Former legendary Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi, who spent four years coaching the talented Dutch international, reminisced over the striker’s talent on the eve of his 50th birthday earlier this week.

“Marco van Basten remains for me the best striker of all time,” Sacchi told Voetbal International. “No other forward has worked as hard for the team as Marco did at Milan.

“I above all remember him for his elegance, his grace and his incredible quality. I remember well when he first arrived at Milan: he was very young with great talent.

“In successive years he won the Ballon d’Or three times and I am still so proud of him for that. Van Basten had a big influence on my first Milan adventure thanks to his goals.

“I can sincerely say that the Milan at the end of the 1980s was one of the most remarkable teams in the history of football.”

Van Basten has since turned to coaching, taking over at the helm at a number of Dutch clubs, and was head coach of Holland form 2004-2008. He is currently the assistant coach at Eredivise side AZ Alkmaar.

Individual Honours:

  • Three-time Ballon d’Or winner
  • Three-time UEFA Player of the Year
  • Dutch Footballer of the Year 1984/85
  • Euro 1988 top goal-scorer
  • Four-time Eredivisie top goal-scorer
  • Two-time Serie A top goal-scorer

Van Basten’s only major silverware with the Netherlands was their 1988 European Championship victory, in which he scored one of the best Final goals of all time against the Soviet Union.

Check out the video below!