Saturday, November 11, 2017

Netherlands Greatest All-Time Team After Johan Cruyff

Euro 1988

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
Netherlands All-Time 23 member team
North HollandSouth Holand.

This is my selection of Netherlands All-Time Team after Johan Cruyff's retirement in 1984.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.

Before the arrival of Johan Cruyff, Netherlands was not considered a power in soccer.  The period was actually known as "BC" (Before Cruyff).  However, this blog post is about the Dutch players after Cruyff's retirement in 1984. All members of this team earned their first cap after 1984.

Holland reached the WC Final in 2010
GK: Edwin Van Der Sar 
Van Der Sar is the most capped player in Netherlands history with 130 caps.  He went to 1994, 1998 and 2006 World Cup and Euro 1996, 2000 and 2004.  He was best remembered for being the Ajax keeper in 1995 that won the Champions' League and then, later for Manchester United for 6 seasons.  He won the Champions' League in 2007-2008. In between, he also played with Fulham and Juventus.

GK: Hans Van Breukelen 
Hans Van Breukelen started his career with FC Utrecht and then, Nottingham Forest.  He moved to PSV in 1984, where he became a star.  For the national team, he was a fixture since 1980.  However, he did not help the Oranje to reach a major tournament until in 1988, where they won the first ever trophy for the Dutch national team. He had 73 caps.

GK: Maaten Skekelenburg 
Skekelenburg was better known for his career with Ajax from 2002 and 2011. He was the backup keeper to Edwin Van de Sar during WC 2006 and Euro 2008.  He was the starting keeper as Oranje reached the WC Final in 2010.  He began his career at Ajax, winning nine honours including two Eredivisie titles. Stekelenburg went on to play for Roma, Fulham, Monaco, Southampton and Everton.
Maaten Skekelenburg

RB: Berry van Aerle
Berry Van Aerle spent 13 years with PSV Eindhoven, helping them to five leagues, which he helped capture the 1988 European Cup.  For the national team, he helped Netherlands to win European Champion in 1988.  It was the first ever international trophy won by Holland. He was also selected for the 1990 World Cup and Euro 1992. 

RB: Michael Reiziger
Michael Reiziger was a member of the Golden Generation from Ajax that won Champions League with Ajax in 1995.  After a brief stint with AC Milan, he moved to Barcelona in 1997.  In 2004, Reiziger moved to Middlesbrough on a Bosman transfer. He was capped 70 times for Netherlands, representing the nation in three European Championships and the 1998 World Cup Finals.

CB:  Ronald Koeman 
Koeman was the rock solid sweeper of Netherlands in 1988.  He was capped 78 times. He also won two European Cups, one each for PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona.  He scored the winning goal for Barcelona's victory in 1992. The Cup was Barcelona's first ever European Cup.  In Holland, he played for the big three, namely Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord.

CB:  Jaap Stam 
Stam became the most expensive Dutch player and the most expensive defender in the world when Manchester United bought him for 10.6 million pounds.  He also played for PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Lazio, AC Milan and Ajax. Sam was capped 67 times for Netherlands scoring three goals. He was in their squads for three European Championships and the 1998 World Cup.
Jaap Stam 
CB/LB: Frank De Boer 
At one point, Frank De Boer was Netherlands' most capped player. He was a part of Ajax's Champions' League winning team in 1995.  He was an important player in the late 1990's. He captained the Oranje to the semi-finals of both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000.  He also played with Barcelona for 6 years. His twin brother Ronald also played with him for Oranje.

CB: Virgil van Dijk 
Van Dijk started with Groningen before he moved to Celtic in 2013. In S2015, he joined Southampton before signing for Liverpool in 2018 for £75 million, a world record transfer fee for a defender. Van Dijk was named the PFA Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season for the 2018–19 season. Van Dijk starred as Liverpool won the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final where he was named man of the match. From 2015 onward, he played for Oranje and was named captain.

LB/DM:  Giovanni Van Bronckhorst
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst played for Netherlands in three World Cups, in 1998, 2006 and 2010, as well as three European Championships, in 2000, 2004 and 2008.  He was the captain of Holland at World Cup 2010, where Oranje finished second.  He played 106 times for Netherlands.  He also played with Feyenoord, Barcelona Arsenal and Rangers. 

CM: Frank Rijkaard
Frank Rijkaard was one of Netherlands' most important player.  Capped 73 times.  He won the 1988 European Championship in West Germany. He notably played for Ajax and AC Milan. He spent 5 seasons with AC Milan when Milan was considered the greatest club team in the world.  He won two European Cup with them. In 1995, he led a young Ajax team to their famous Champions' League victory.  That team is also considered one of the greatest club sides ever.
Frank Rijkaard

CM: Edgar Davids
Nicknamed "the Pitbull", Davids was one of the greatest defensive midfielders in the world.  He won the European Champions' League with Ajax in 1995.  He was an important player at the WC Finals in 1998 when Netherlands reached the semi-final. He also spent 7 seasons with Juventus at the height of his career. He also played for Tottenham Hotspurs, Barcelona, AC Milan, etc.

CM/LM: Clarence Seedorf
Seedorf is the first player to win three Champion League titles with 3 different clubs. He was a member of the Golden Generation from Ajax that won Champions League in 1995.  In 1996, he moved to Real Madrid, where he quickly established himself as a star.  He would win two Champions League title there.  He later played for both AC Milan and Inter Milan.  He was a key player for the Dutch national team.
Clarence Seedorf

LW/RW: Marc Overmars 
Known for his speed, Overmars was a member of the youthful Ajax team that won the European cup in 1995. He moved to Arsenal in 1997, where he starred playing under Arsene Wenger.  He won the Double in 1997-1998.  He later moved to Barcelona and Go Ahead Eagles. His career with Oranja lasted from 1993 to 2004, and was an important player.  He won the Best Young Player Award at USA 1994. 

RW/LW/FW: Arjen Robben
Robben was an important player for Bayern Munich's dominance in Europe as they reached three Champions' League Finals in 4 years, winning one in 2013.  He also played with Real Madrid, Chelsea and PSV Eindhoven.  For the national team, he had 96 caps between 2003 and 2017.  He helped Netherlands to reach the Final of the 2010 World Cup Finals and then, four years later the semi-final in 2014. 
Arjen Robben

AM: Rafael van der Vaart 
Van der Vaart began his career at AFC Ajax's youth academy and worked his way into the first team. He moved to Bundesliga club Hamburger SV, then to Real Madrid, then on to Tottenham Hotspur before returning to Hamburg in 2012. He earned 109 caps for the Netherlands between 2001 and 2013. He represented the nation at three European Championships and two World Cups.

AM: Wesley Sneijder 
Sneijder emerged from the Ajax Academy before making to the first team in 2002.  He moved to Real Madrid in 2007, where he won a La Liga title in 2006-2007.  He also won a Champions' League title with Inter Milan in 2009-2010.  At the time of writing, he has 114 caps for Holland.  He was the star player for Netherlands as they reached the Final of South Africa 2010. He won the Silver Ball.  He moved to Galatasaray in 2013.
Wesley Sneijder
FW/AM: Ruud Gullit
He was the iconic captain of Netherlands 1988.  In 1987,  he moved from PSV Eindhoven to A.C. Milan for a world record transfer fee.  He was an important player for AC Milan during the 1980's where they won two straight European Cups. He was the European Footballer of the Year in 1987 and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989.  He spent one season with Sampdoria winning the Italian Cup in 1994.

Gullit with Van Basten

FW: Dennis Bergkamp
Dennis Bergkamp was the best-known Dutch player of the mid-1990's.  He had 92 caps. He helped Netherlands to reach the semi-final of the 1998 WC Finals in France.  His goal vs Argentina at was considered among the best ever scored in World Cup history.  He also played in the World Cup Finals of 1994 and three European Championship. He started with Ajax and played for Inter Milan.  He also had a very successful career with Arsenal, winning 7 major titles.
Dennis Bergkamp

ST:  Marco Van Basten
Marco Van Basten was probably the second best Dutch player and among the best striker in football's history.  He won the Ballon d'Or three times.  He led Oranje to the victory at Euro 1988 scoring 5 goals at the tournament.  His goal in the Final is considered one of the best in history of the tournament. He started his career with Ajax.  He also won two European Cups with AC Milan, a club team that was considered the best ever.  
Marco Van Basten

ST: Robin Van Persie 
Robin Van Persie started with Feyenoord, but was known for his career playing in England. He spent 8 seasons with Arsenal, winning both PFA and FWA Player of the Year in 2011-2012.  Immediately after winning the two awards, he made a controversial transfer to rival Manchester United. At the time of writing, he has earned 102 caps, helping Netherlands to finish second in 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa.

ST: Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Ruud Van Nistelrooy was a prolific goal scorer. He won the top scorer award in three different European domestic leagues. He started with PSV Eindhoven.  He spent 5 seasons with Manchester United where he was voted as their best player twice.  With Real Madrid, he finished second as the European Golden Boot. Van Nistelrooy earned 70 caps and scored 35 goals for the Netherlands. He played in 2006 World Cup and two European Championship. 
Ruud Van Nistelrooy

Honorable Mention
Ed de Goey, Wim Jonk, Joris Mathijsen, Wilfred Bouma, Adri van Tiggelen, Boudewjan Zenden, Patrick Kluivert, Jan Wouters, Dirk Kuyt, John van 't Schip, Bryan Roy, Aaron Winter, Phillip Cocu, Mark van Bommel, Nigel de Jong, Ben Wijnstekers, Arnold Muhren, Roy Makaay, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Pierre van Hooijdonk, John Heitinga.

Sqaud Explanation
-- Sometimes, Dutch football is known before Johan Cruyff was known as "BC" (Before Cruyff).  It will be difficult to create a "BC team for Netherlands.
-- Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Dennis Bergkamp and Edwin Van de Sar are automatic selection. I rate
Arjen Robben very high.  So he is also my automatic selection, but I am not sure if other fans would agree.
-- Johan Cruyff supposed to be on the 1978 World Cup team.  All members of that team are considered to be Cruyff's generation.
-- Holland 1988 was under represented here, I admitted. Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Berry van Aerle, Ronald Koeman and Van Breukelen were the players here from that team.
-- Ed de Goey might have been better than Maaten Skekelenburg, but I took Skekelenburg based on the 2010 World Cup run. I gave him credit for helping Netherlands to reach the World Cup final.
-- Ben Wijnstekers made honorable mention. 
-- I dropped Arthur Numan.  I only carried 7 defenders. Frank De Boer served as the emergency left back.  Instead, I took two more attackers.
-- In July, 2019, I updated the team. I replaced John Heitinga with Virgil van Dijk. Van Dijk is one of the best player in the world as of 2019.  He finished second in the Ballon d'or, an award that should be given to him in 2019. No Dutch defender can claim that.
-- In 2010, Wesley Sneijder was playing liked a Ballon d'or winner in the Champions League and the World Cup Finals.  He would have a better career if he was more consistent in his performance. 
-- When Arjen Robben is injury free, I considered him on par with the greatest footballers of his generations.  Unfortunately, he was injury prone.  He carried Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup Final as well as helping Bayern Munich to a Champions' League title.  He is good enough
-- Patrick Kluivert's career faded quickly after he joined Barcelona. He was not seriously considered to be the 23 member team. The careers of Roy Makaay, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Pierre van Hooijdonk were limited by playing in the same generation of Kluivert and Van Nistelrooy.  Klaas-Jan Huntelaar picked up over 70 caps, but he was not rated as good as some of the names mentioned.
-- Robin Van Persie edged out John van 't Schip, Bryan Roy and Aaron Winter for the last spot on the team.  He was the best player in the Premiership for at least a year.  It was an accomplishment that others could not match.


1 comment:

  1. vd Sar
    Stam v.Dijk de-Vrij
    Gullit Rijkaard Davids
    Robben v.Basten Overmars