Ruud Gullit: Wikis


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Ruud Gullit
Cobi Jones (left) and Ruud Gullit leaving Wellington International Airport
Guillit (right) with Cobi Jones.
Personal information
Full name Ruud Dil / Gullit
Date of birth September 1, 1962 (1962-09-01) (age 47)
Place of birth Amsterdam, Netherlands
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Playing position Defender/Midfielder/Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1979–1982 HFC Haarlem 091 0(32)
1982–1985 Feyenoord 085 0(31)
1985–1987 PSV 068 0(46)
1987–1993 AC Milan 171 0(56)
1993–1994 Sampdoria 031 0(16)
1994 AC Milan 008 00(3)
1994–1995 Sampdoria 022 00(9)
1995–1998 Chelsea 032 00(4)
Total 454 (175)
National team
1979 Netherlands U21 004 00(1)
1981–1994 Netherlands 066 0(17)
Teams managed
1996–1998 Chelsea
1998–1999 Newcastle United
2004–2005 Feyenoord
2007–2008 Los Angeles Galaxy
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

About this sound Ruud Gullit (born as Ruud Dil, September 1, 1962 in Amsterdam) is a Dutch football manager and former player, who played professionally in the 1980s and 1990s. He was the captain of the Netherlands national team that was victorious at Euro 88 and was also a member of the squad for the 1990 World Cup. He was named the European Footballer of the Year in 1987 and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989. He was a versatile player, playing in numerous positions during his career. He last managed the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer after taking over in November 2007.


Early life

Gullit was born Ruud Dil in Amsterdam to George Gullit, an Afro-Surinamese migrant, and his mistress Ria Dil from the Amsterdam Jordaan inner city district. The family lived in one split level room on the top floor of a small apartment building. Gullit's father worked as an economics teacher at a local school, his mother as a cleaner at the Rijksmuseum.

Gullit developed his football skills in the confines of the Rozendwarsstraat, street football was instrumental in his formative years. Gullit's first team were the Meerboys, where he joined as a junior in 1970. However, at the age of 10 Gullit moved from the Jordaan to Amsterdam Old West where he played street football alongside Frank Rijkaard. Gullit joined the DWS club after his move, and came to the attention of the Dutch youth team, where he played alongside such future greats as Erwin Koeman, Ronald Koeman and Wim Kieft.

It was during his time at DWS that Ruud first took to using his father's surname, rather than his registered surname, as he thought it sounded more like a football player.[2] He retained his mother's surname, officially, and continues to sign all contracts as Ruud Dil.

Club career

HFC Haarlem

In 1978, he signed professionally for HFC Haarlem under coach and former West Bromwich Albion F.C. player Barry Hughes. Gullit made 91 league appearances for Haarlem, scoring 32 goals. Gullit made his debut for the club at just 16 years old, becoming at the time the youngest player in the history of the Eredivisie.[3] In his first year at Haarlem they finished bottom of the Eredivisie, but bounced back the following season winning the Eerste Divisie. Gullit was named as the best player in the Eerste Divisie that season.[4] in recognition of his outstanding efforts. In the 1981-2 season Gullit was in fine form as Haarlem finished 4th and qualified for Europe for the only time in their history. In that same season Gullit scored the goal he would later consider his finest, "Playing against Utrecht I went past four defenders and then the goalkeeper, and scored. It was an unforgettable goal for me."[5] Hughes was so impressed with the young Gullit that he described him as the "Dutch Duncan Edwards".[4]


In 1982, he moved to Feyenoord, for a fee of £300,000, where he made 85 league appearances, scoring 31 goals. At Feyenoord Gullit found himself playing alongside Dutch legend Johan Cruijff, while the assistant manager was Wim van Hanegem, and they were to leave a lasting impression. Gullit's first season saw Feyenoord miss out on major honours, but the following year they completed the league and cup double. Gullit was named Dutch Footballer of the Year in recognition of his contribution to Feyenoord's success. At Feyenoord Gullit occupied an increasingly advanced role in midfield, having played predominantly as a sweeper at Haarlem.[6] While at Feyenoord Gullit became the focus of a race row as manager Thijs Libregts was alleged to have referred to Gullit as "blackie" and criticised him for being lazy, though Libregts defended himself by claiming that it was merely a nickname.[7]

PSV Eindhoven

In 1985, he moved to PSV for ƒ1.2 million (£400,000), and wound up scoring 46 goals in 68 league appearances for the team. Gullit was again named Footballer of the Year in 1986 as he helped PSV capture the Eredivisie crown, a feat they repeated the following year. It was at PSV that Gullit really began to establish himself as a world class footballer and his distinctive, dreadlocked appearance made certain that he would catch the eye of Europe's biggest clubs. Gullit was also singled out for criticism by large numbers of Feyenoord supporters, who branded him a "wolf" and accused him of moving to Eindhoven for money.[8]

A.C. Milan

Silvio Berlusconi signed Gullit for AC Milan in 1987, paying the then record fee of ƒ18 million (£6 million) as a replacement for Ray Wilkins. Among his teammates at that club were compatriots Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, along with Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi. When he arrived at Milan, Gullit initially struggled to settle as he spoke no Italian and was unused to living in a foreign country.[9] However, Gullit's first season at Milan saw the club win Scudetto for the first time in 9 years, under coach Arrigo Sacchi. He was initially used on the right of an attacking trio alongside Van Basten and Pietro Virdis, but after an injury to Van Basten it was changed to a front two. The following season Milan built on their domestic success by adding the European Cup to their list of honours. Their scintillating 5-0 demolition of Real Madrid in the semi-final second leg came at a cost, as Gullit suffered an injury and required surgery to be fit in time for the final. That performance was followed by a 4-0 victory over Steaua Bucharest in the 1989 final with Gullit scoring two crucial goals. The following year Milan retained the trophy as they defeated Benfica in the 1990 final.

Gullit's exploits with first PSV and then Milan helped him win the European Footballer of the Year award in 1987 which he dedicated to Nelson Mandela.[10] However, serious injuries sustained to the ligaments of his right knee limited Gullit's playing time and he managed just 2 domestic games in the 1989-90 season.

In 1990-91 Milan's pursuit of a third consecutive European Cup was cut short by Olympique de Marseille at the semi-final stage. Having drawn the first leg at the San Siro, Milan trailed to a Chris Waddle goal with little time remaining when the floodlights went out. After a short delay the lighting was restored, but Milan had returned to their dressing room and refused to return to complete the game. UEFA awarded Marseille a 3-0 victory and expelled Milan from all European competitions for the following season.

While Milan continued their domestic dominance by winning Serie A in both 1991-92 (a season in which they went undefeated) and 1992-93, Gullit's position was an increasingly peripheral one. This was demonstrated by his omission from the UEFA Champions League Final 1993 final as under the UEFA rules clubs were only allowed to field 3 foreigners.

Chelsea F.C.

In July 1995, he signed for Chelsea on a free transfer. Initially played as sweeper by manager Glenn Hoddle with limited success, Gullit was moved to his more familiar role in midfield, where he scored six goals. The signing of Gullit, alongside the likes of Mark Hughes and Dan Petrescu, propelled Chelsea to the semi-final of the FA Cup but their league form was disappointing.

Gullit's earliest difficulty in England was adapting to the abilities of some of his Chelsea teammates, "I would take a difficult ball, control it, make space and play a good ball in front of the right back, except that he didn’t want that pass. Eventually Glenn said to me, ‘Ruud, it would be better if you do these things in midfield’."[11] However, his adjustment was rapid and he ended the season by being named runner-up to Eric Cantona as Footballer of the Year.

Gullit has since often stated in interviews that it was in London he enjoyed his career the most and felt happiest.[11] In moving to Chelsea, Gullit played an important part in the "foreign revolution" as numerous high profile international stars, such as the prolific German World Cup winner Jürgen Klinsmann, Italian superstar Gianfranco Zola who became a Chelsea legend, and Dutch magician Dennis Bergkamp, joined Premiership clubs and helped to increase its worldwide profile.

National team

In 1981, on his 19th birthday, Gullit made his international debut as a substitute for the Dutch national team against Switzerland, a game the Dutch lost 2-1.

Gullit's early international career was marred by disappointment as the Dutch failed to qualify for the 1982 FIFA World Cup and Euro 84. The Dutch missed out in 1984 on goals scored as the Spanish trounced minnows Malta 12-1 in their final qualifying game, when they needed an 11 goal victory to qualify.

There was further disappointment in 1986 when the Dutch missed out on qualification for the World Cup at the hands of neighbours Belgium in a play-off. Having lost 1-0 in Belgium, the Dutch appeared to be set for qualification in Rotterdam as they led 2-0 until Georges Grun put the Belgians through on away goals.

However, Gullit was one of the key players for the Dutch team helping his country win the Euro 88 under coach Rinus Michels. Having lost their opening game of the tournament to the USSR the Dutch beat England and Republic of Ireland to reach the semi-finals. After defeating West Germany 2-1 in Hamburg the Dutch faced the Soviet Union in the final. Gullit opened the scoring with a well-placed header and Marco van Basten scored an incredible volley to cap a 2-0 win. Ruud Gullit was thus the first Dutch captain to hold aloft international silverware.

The Dutch travelled to Italia 90 as one of the favourites, but the team failed to perform as expected. Gullit's knee injuries clearly hampered his play, and his only moment of brilliance was a superb dribble and shot against Ireland which helped the Netherlands qualify for the second round. There they met W Germany in one of the most exciting games of the tournament, though the game was marred by an altercation between Frank Rijkaard and Rudi Voller. The Germans gained revenge for their defeat at Euro 88, by beating the Netherlands 2-1 and going on to win the tournament.

1992 saw the Dutch again among the favourites for silverware in Sweden at Euro 92. Gullit appeared in imperious form against Scotland in their opening game of the tournament as he supplied Dennis Bergkamp with an easy goal. But after drawing with Russia and beating Germany, the Dutch suffered a shock exit on penalties to Denmark, who ended up winning the championship's Henri Delaunay Trophy.

In 1993 Gullit and Holland manager Dick Advocaat began what was to be a long running dispute which ultimately ended Gullit's international career. Advocaat's decision to play Gullit on the right-side of midfield, in a game against England at Wembley, rather than his usual central position upset Gullit and this was exacerbated by his substitution for Marc Overmars.[7] Gullit refused to play for the national team following this but later changed his mind and agreed to return, facing Scotland in May 1994. Shortly before the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Gullit walked out of pre-tournament training camp and would never play international football again.

Playing style

Gullit epitomised the ethos of Total Football as he was naturally adept in several positions. His foremost attribute was his athleticism, as he used his strength and speed to great effect, as well as being excellent in the air.[12] Yet unusually for a man of his stature Gullit also possessed outstanding natural balance and poise that gave a graceful style to his game. Gullit thus combined technical ability with physical presence to become an iconic figure in world football.[13]

Gullit's brilliance prompted George Best to comment in 1990, "Ruud Gullit is a great player by any standards. He has all the skills. He's not afraid to do things with the ball. And he looks as if he's enjoying every second of it. By my reckoning that's what makes him an even better player than Maradona. Both have the key quality you will find in all the best players: balance. You just can't knock them off the ball. It was the same with Pelé, Beckenbauer and Cruijff."[14]

Managerial career

Chelsea FC

In the summer of 1996, when Glenn Hoddle left Chelsea to become manager of the England national team, Gullit was appointed as a player-manager. Gullit made a promising start to his managerial career when in the first season as a player-manager he guided Chelsea to an FA Cup triumph in 1997, the club's first major trophy in 26 years. Gullit became the first non-British manager to win the FA Cup. The club also finished at a credible sixth place in the Premiership. The following season, with Chelsea in second place in the Premiership and proceeding to the quarterfinals in two cup competitions, he was sacked, allegedly for a disagreement with the club's board over the compensation, though Gullit himself disputed this.[15] He was replaced by Gianluca Vialli, a man he had helped to bring to the club.

Newcastle United

In 1998, he was named manager of Newcastle United F.C., and his managerial career again was on track, with an FA Cup final appearance in his first year. In the following season, fans began to turn against him after a poor run of results, and a well-publicised contretemps with star striker and local hero Alan Shearer and captain Robert Lee did not put him in a favourable light.[16] Gullit even refused to assign Lee a squad number, giving Lee's number 7 to new signing Kieron Dyer. In a match between Newcastle and local rivals Sunderland following the latter's return to the Premiership, Gullit, to the surprise of many, left the usually starting strikers Alan Shearer and Duncan Ferguson on the bench. Newcastle lost 2-1, although it was 1-1 when Shearer came on. Gullit resigned three days later, after only five games into the 1999-2000 season.[17]

Feyenoord Rotterdam

Before the start of the 2004/2005 season, he took charge of Feyenoord, quitting at the end of that season without winning any trophies to be replaced by Erwin Koeman. Feyenoord had finished a disappointing 4th in the Eredivisie, behind Ajax, PSV and AZ.

Los Angeles Galaxy

On November 8, 2007, Ruud Gullit became head coach for the Los Angeles Galaxy, signing a 3-year contract.[18]

Gullit's managerial style was criticized by former Galaxy player Abel Xavier, in which he claimed that Gullit had frictions with most of the team and that he did not have respect for most of the players.[19]

On August 11, 2008, Gullit resigned as coach from the Los Angeles Galaxy citing personal reasons. This followed a seven-game winless streak.[20]

Media career

In 1988 Ruud Gullit scored a No.3 hit with the anti-apartheid song South Africa in the Dutch Top 40 together with the reggae band Revelation Time. Previously he had a modest hit in 1984 with the song Not the dancing kind.

After his spell at Newcastle, Gullit spent several years working as a football commentator, having previously coined the term "sexy football"[21] during his spell as a BBC pundit during Euro 96 which was at a time Gullit was still playing professionally for Chelsea. Gullit used the term to describe teams, such as Portugal at that tournament,[22] who played attractive football with an emphasis on the defense-penetrating pass-and-move game.

By 2006, Gullit had a talk show on Dutch TV, where he has interviewed, amongst others, Nelson Mandela.[10] When Gullit was named winner of the Ballon d'Or in 1987, he dedicated the award to the then imprisoned Nelson Mandela. At the time, Gullit was signed to AC Milan and the Italians raised their eyebrows, "Nelson who?". Gullit tried to explain and they said, ‘Oh, a footballer with political beliefs’. Gullit has since in interviews told that he met Nelson Mandela after he was released and Mandela said, ‘Ruud, I have lots of friends now. When I was on the inside, you were one of the few’.[11]

In 2007 Gullit recalled, "Four months ago I visited Robben Island and met three guys who were cell-mates of Nelson Mandela. They remembered my dedicating my award in 1987 to Mandela and they said they couldn’t believe what I had done, and were sure the football authorities would withdraw the award. That's what apartheid did to them, it made them believe injustice was a normal part of life." [11]

He also appeared as a pundit for ITV during the 2006 FIFA World Cup and works as an analyst for the UEFA Champions League games on Sky Sports and Al-Jazeera sport.

Personal life

Gullit has been married three times and has six children:

  • Yvonne de Vries - 1984 to 1991: two children, daughters Felicity and Charmayne.
  • Cristina Pensa - 1994 to May 2000: two children, son Quincy and daughter Sheyenne.
  • Estelle Cruijff - 3 June 2000–present: She is the niece of Johan Cruijff. They have two children, son Maxim and daughter Joëlle.


Gullit was sponsored in 1990 to wear a black and white football boot made by Italian sports brand Lotto. The boot he wore was the Lotto Stadio 90, a boot which was initially created for the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

Club Playing Honours

HFC Haarlem
Feyenoord Rotterdam
PSV Eindhoven
Associazione Calcio Milan 1st spell
Unione Calcio Sampdoria
Associazione Calcio Milan 2nd spell
Chelsea F.C.

International Playing Honours

Netherlands National Football Team

Individual Playing Honours


Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Netherlands League KNVB Cup Europe Total
1979-80 Haarlem Eredivisie 24 4 -
1980-81 Eerste Divisie 36 14 -
1981-82 Eredivisie 31 14 -
1982-83 Feyenoord Eredivisie 33 9 - 33 9
1983-84 33 15 12 9 4 1 49 25
1984-85 19 7 4 3 2 0 25 10
1985-86 PSV Eindhoven Eredivisie 34 24 2 1 2 0 38 25
1986-87 34 22 3 6 - 37 28
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
1987-88 Milan Serie A 29 9 6 3 4 1 39 13
1988-89 19 5 1 2 8 5 28 12
1989-90 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 0
1990-91 26 7 1 0 4 1 31 8
1991-92 26 7 1 1 - 27 8
1992-93 15 7 6 4 4 1 25 12
1993-94 Sampdoria Serie A 31 16 10 3 - 41 19
1994-95 Milan Serie A 8 3 2 0 3 0 13 3
1994-95 Sampdoria Serie A 22 9 0 0 - 22 9
England League FA Cup Europe Total
1995-96 Chelsea Premier League 14 3 7 3 - 21 6
1996-97 12 1 1 0 - 13 1
1997-98 6 0 0 0 - 6 0
Total Netherlands 244 109 21 19 8 1 273 129
Italy 178 63 27 13 24 8 229 83
England 32 4 8 3 - 40 7
Career Total 454 175 56 35 32 9 542 219

Managerial stats

Team Nat From To Record
G W L D Win %
Chelsea England May 10, 1996 February 12, 1998 83 41 24 18 49.39
Newcastle United England August 27, 1998 August 28, 1999 52 18 20 14 34.61
Feyenoord Netherlands August 13, 2004 May 22, 2005 45 25 8 12 55.56
Los Angeles Galaxy United States November 8, 2007 August 11, 2008 12 6 4 2 50.00

Further reading

  • Glanville, Brian (1999). Footballers Don't Cry. 
  • Gullit, Ruud (1998). My Autobiography. 
  • Harris, Harry (1996). Ruud Gullit: Portrait of a Genius. 


External links

Simple English

Ruud Gullit
Personal information
Full name Ruud Dil Gullit
Date of birth 1 September 1962 (1962-09-01) (age 48)
Place of birth    Amsterdam, Netherlands
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Striker (retired)
Senior clubs
Years Club
Feyenoord Rotterdam
PSV Eindhoven
Sampdoria (loan)
National team
1981-1994 Netherlands
Teams managed
Newcastle United
Feyenoord Rotterdam
Los Angeles Galaxy

Ruud Gullit (born 1 September 1962) is a former Dutch football player. He has played for Netherlands national team.

Club career statistics

Club Performance League CupContinentalTotal
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
NetherlandsLeague KNVB Cup EuropeTotal
1980/81Eerste Divisie3614-3614
1982/83Feyenoord RotterdamEredivisie339-339
1985/86PSV EindhovenEredivisie342421203825
ItalyLeague Coppa Italia EuropeTotal
1987/88MilanSerie A29953213613
1993/94SampdoriaSerie A3116103-4119
1994/95MilanSerie A830030113
1994/95SampdoriaSerie A22900-229
EnglandLeague FA Cup EuropeTotal
1995/96ChelseaPremier League14373-216
CountryNetherlands 244109171681269126
Italy 17863311322723183
England 32483-407
Total 4541765632308540216

International career statistics

[1] [2]

Netherlands national team


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