Soccer Fanatic

Marco Van Basten was a superb Dutch football player renowned for his striking prowess so possessing the title of one of the best goal scorers of all time. He could strike the ball with either foot which made him an indispensible player of quality while his stature and girth made him a formidable force up front scoring unforgettable over head kick goals. Van Basten was born on the 31st October 1964 and started his football playing career at the tender age of seven moving one year later to UW Utrecht where he remained for ten years.

marco van basten football profile

Van Basten signed for Ajax when he was just seventeen years of age which was quite an achievement as Ajax were one of the foremost teams in the Netherlands. He made his debut on 3rd April 1982 when he was brought on as substitute for Cruyff scoring a goal so giving some measure of the player to come. Van Basten scored nine goals in his twenty games played that first season while the following season he gained a regular first team place enabling his fantastic goal scoring ability to come to the fore. He scored 117 goals in 112 matches for Ajax played over four seasons which is a great accomplishment while he was also awarded the European Golden Boot 1985/1986. His total goal scoring tally for Ajax was 151 goals in 172 games which was phenomenal.

1987 saw a transfer to AC Milan where his first season was marred by injury playing a mere 9 games, this ankle injury would be a factor in his retirement. 1992 was a very successful season for both player and club Van Basten scoring 31 goals in 25 matches so helping Milan win the Italian league. Club success was not however repeated at national level for Van Basten as he missed a vital penalty which saw his team eliminated from the European semi finals although his scoring prowess did see him awarded The Golden Ball Award and FIFA Player of the Year.

Van Basten's greatest success at international level was in Euro 1988 where he scored 5 goals throughout becoming the tournament's top goal scorer. He is best remembered in this tournament for his hatrick against England and his most watched and recognised goal - a spectacular volley in the final against the Soviet Union.

The ankle injury that had plagued Van Basten previously unfortunately returned following a fourth operation in 1993 so ending his career in August 1995. Van Basten then moved into management even though he had professed his disinterest in doing so beginning with Ajax's second team then moving on to become the Dutch team coach where he was ruthless in his dismissal of players he judged past their best. He famously dropped Ruud Van Nistelrooy from the 2006 World Cup team even though Van Nistelrooy had previously scored 28 goals for the national side.

At Soccer Fanatic we believe Van Basten's potential was equal to that of the earlier Eusebio of Benfica and Portugal, but due to his ankle injury this potential was never fully exploited.

Some interesting and impressive statistics go hand in hand with the name Marco Van Basten, they are:

  1. Dutch League Top Scorer: 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
  2. European Silver Boot: 1984
  3. Dutch Footballer of the Year: 1985
  4. European Golden Boot: 1986
  5. Bravo Award: 1987
  6. European Footballer of the Year: 1988, 1989, 1992
  7. UEFA European Championship 1988 Top Scorer and Best Player
  8. European Cup Top Scorer: 1989
  9. Onze d'Argent: 1987, 1992
  10. Onze d'Or: 1988, 1989
  11. Serie A Silver Top Scorer: 1989
  12. IFFHS Best Player of the Year: 1988, 1989, 1990
  13. UEFA Best Player of the Year: 1989, 1990, 1992
  14. World Soccer Player of the Year: 1988 1992
  15. Serie A Top Scorer: 1990, 1992
  16. FIFA World Player of the Year: 1992
  17. European Cup Silver Top Scorer: 1993
  18. FIFA 100 (greatest living footballers picked by Pele): 2004

Van Basten played 133 games for Ajax and scored 128 goals, 147 games for AC Milan and scored 90 goals and 57 games for Holland scoring 24 goals. is a not for profit website aimed at promoting the best past and present footballers from around the world.