Born: 31 October 1964, Utrecht, Holland

International Caps : 58 
International Goals : 24 
Teams : Ajax, AC Milan 
Team Honours  European Championship :  1988
European Cup :   1989, 90, 94
Cup Winners Cup :  1987
World Club Championships : 1989, 90
European Super Cup : 1989, 90, 94
Dutch Championship :  1982, 83, 85.
Dutch Cup :  1983, 86, 87.
Italian Championship :  1988, 92, 93, 94. 
Individual Honours  FIFA World Player of the Year :  1992
World Footballer of the Year :  1988, 92
European Footballer of the Year :  1988, 89, 92

On the 31st of October 1964 Marco Van Basten was born in the Dutch city  of  Utrecht. As a child the young Van Basten dreamt,  not  of  becoming  a  professional   footballer, but  rather  a  world  class  gymnast  -  a  dream  he  would  later transfer to the field with some of the most unbelievably agile goals ever seen in the football world.

Marco  began  his career  with  a short lived  spell  at local side  Edilwijk  before  being  whisked off to Dutch super club Ajax in Amsterdam.

In  1980  at  the  Mundialito  friendly-league  in  Milano, Johan  Crujff  the leader and coach of  the  team,    introduce  to Sandro  Mazzola,  the symbol-man of Inter, Marco Van Basten. Said Crujff: "Look at him, he's  the  new Crujff".  Mazzola looked him with attention and so says now about that event : " Crujff  showed us  Marco,  we  understood  immediately that we were in front of an amazing player".
Marco had 16 years.
He  played  his  first game for  Ajax  in  the Eredivise on the 3rd of April 1982 in front of the Ajax faithful  in  the  De  Meer stadium  against  Nijmegen,  fittingly  replacing  the  reigning  Dutch football legend  Johan Cruyff and even managing to grab a goal in the process.

The following season he scored  9 goals in  20 games but in the 1983 - 84 season  he set  the Dutch  league  alight  and his  consistency  was  evident  immediately  scoring an astonishing 28 goals in just 26 games.

By  1986 he  had consolidated  his position as  the  most  lethal  forward  in  European  football,  winning   the  European Golden Boot award with  his  37  goal  tally.  In  his  time with  Ajax  Van Basten  had  filled  his  personal  trophy  cabinet with  two  Dutch  Championships, two  Dutch Cups  and  the   European Cup Winners' Cup. He  played  his final game for Ajax  ( a game he won for Ajax), against Dynamo Dresden, in that European  Cup Winners Cup final. He had scored 128 league goals in just 143 games at an unprecedented strike rate and was top scorer in Holland 4 times.

During this time Silvio Berlusconi  was  busy  rebuilding  AC  Milan  after  corruption  charges  levelled at  the preceding club president had  left  Milan relegated  twice in three seasons.  In 1987 Berlusconi  set about his  task by  investing in world  class players - namely   Gullit  and  Van Basten and adding  Rijkaard  the following year to form an  unforgettable Dutch triumvirate. Berlusconi had to choose a new striker to buy. He had  2  choices :   Marco Van Basten  or  Ian Rush. After  having  seen only  30 seconds of a VHS about Marco, Silvio decided to buy "The Flying Dutchman".

He made his debut  for  Milan on 13th  September 1987  in Pisa and scored from the spot as Milan won 3-1. In his first season  at Milan  however  he  played  just  11 games  scoring  3 goals as the Rossoneri won their first Scudetto since 1979. His first season at Milan in 87-88 was plagued by an ankle injury that would haunt him for the rest of his career.

As a result of his lack of matches for  Milan he started  the 1988  European Championships in  Germany as a substitute but  by  the  end  of  the  tournament  he  was  being   hailed  as  the  greatest  player  in  the  World.   In  the  tournament Van Basten destroyed England  on his own  scoring a sensational hat trick,  knocked   out the hosts  with a late  winner and  scored  one of the  most   unforgettable  goals  ever  seen  with an  amazing volley Soviet Union in the final. He had made his mark on  the  international  scene  but due to the  desperate in-fighting and inconsistency that was to dog the Dutch side over the coming years it would be  the only honour Marco would win for his country.

Marco returned to  Milanello for the start of the 1988-89  season full of confidence and that autumn he was  named  the 1988 European Player of the year. He followed this up by scoring 19 goals in Serie A as well as being an integral part of the  Milan  team  that  ripped  apart  the  hapless  Romanian  side  Steaua  Bucharest  4 - 0  in  the  Nou Camp to win the European Champions Cup final with Van Basten scoring  two along with his compatriot Gullit who also scored a double In the 1989 - 90 season Marco repeated  his 19  goal  haul in  Serie A to become  Capocannoniere  and  was once again heavily  involved as Milan retained  their European crown defeating  Portuguese champions Benfica 1 - 0 in Vienna with a  Frank  Rijkaard goal.  The  1990  World Cup  finals  in  Italy were  next on  Marco's agenda and he went as he went in search of  the  ultimate  prize. The  Dutch  side  however  had  a  tournament to forget before going out to  Klinsmann's Germany   1 - 2  in what many describe as the match of the tournament for the right and wrong elements of football.

At the start of the  90 - 91  campaign  Milan  were  attempting to win their third consecutive  European crown.  Their will to win however  was  overshadowed  by  their  bad  sportsmanship  when  vice  president  Galliani ordered the team off the  pitch  as  they  were  losing  when  the   floodlights  failed  in  the semi-final  second  leg tie against the  French side Marseille. Red Star  Belgrade  went  on  to  take  Milan's crown in a cynical final while  Milan themselves received a one year ban from European club football.  Van Basten  scored  11  goals  in  Serie A  that  season  but  it was surprise side Sampdoria who took  the  Scudetto. Without European football to concentrate on in the  1991 - 1992  season Milan took Serie A  by  storm  and  reclaimed  the  Scudetto while  managing  to remain unbeaten in Serie A for the entire 34 game campaign a record unlikely ever to be broken  With 'Marco Goalo' scoring 25 goals to earn his second Capocannonere  title. it is worth to mention the game vs. Cagliari in Sardinia. The first half was over and Cagliari was leading 1-0. During the half-time break,  Van Basten had a discussion with Capello.  Noone  knows  what  they  have talked about but when returning  on  the  pitch   Capello  showed  to  Marco  the  number  "3"  by  making  it  with  his  fingers.  Marco scored a hat-trick in 18 minutes and secured Milan the victory.

The European  Championships  in Sweden  saw  some  great attacking football from the Dutch but they went out to late entrants  and  eventual  winners  Denmark  in  a penalty shootout where Van Basten, after his customary jump, missed from the penalty spot.
It was Marco's last international tournament.

In the Autumn  of   the  1992 - 1993  season  Marco  was  on  top  of   the  footballing  World. He was leading the Serie A goalsorers  charts  with  13 goals  and  included in his  extraordinary  start  to the season came an incredible couple of games in the month of November. In a  league  game  in  Naples he scored four goals as  Milan demolished Napoli 5 - 1. He  followed  this  up  by scoring all four as  Milan thrashed Goteborg 4 - 0 in the  Champions League which  Milan were dominating. Allied to this he was voted European Player  of  the  Year  for  a record equalling third time and he was also playing his part as  Milan  smashed all unbeaten records in Serie A, a record  which  would eventually see them remain unbeaten for 58 matches.

For a joke of the  destiny,  Marco scored  his  first and last  goal of his Italian experience to the same goalkeeper, Nista. Ferron is the goalkeeper that got more goals by Marco.

His  extraordinary   start  to  the season  however  was  destroyed  with  a  recurrence  of  the ankle  injury   which  had plagued his career.
When  in  the  first  months  of  1993  Marco  was operated  for  the  4th time at the ankle, the  medical staff of  Milan AC disagreed with the operation, because they thought that another operation could be extremely dangerous.
He  missed  the  vast  majority  of  the  remainder of the  season  playing  only a couple of games  before  he was thrust back into action in the European Champions  League  final against  Marseille.  A tired looking  Milan  side  lost  0-1  with Van Basten, who created numerous chances for Massaro and Papin, playing his last game for AC Milan.

18th Aug. 1995, Luigi Berlusconi trophy, Milan-Juventus. In  this  usual  great  classic of the summer there is a special event: Marco Van Basten,  the greatest european striker of last 20 years, leaves the football. 85.000 people at San Siro stand-up and clap him as last wave.

Adriano Galliani so said when Marco left football: "The football lose his Leonardo Da Vinci"

In the  six  years  he  had played with  Milan he had played a major part  in catapulting them back   to pinnacle of  World football, removing them from the shadow  of   neighbours  Inter and  laying  down a solid foundation for future success.

He scored an incredible 90 goals in 147 Serie A games.He picked up 3Scudetto's, 2European Cups, 2 World Club Cups, 2 European  Super Cups.  Personally  Marco claimed  3 European  Footballer of the Year awards,  2 World  Player of the Year awards, FIFA  World Player of the year and 2 Capocannonere awards  as  Serie  A top marksman.  Not  to mention that  he  has a 92.3%  percentage rate at penalty kicks.

Van  Basten   had  made  a  legend  of   himself   before  his   injury   dramatically   shortened   his  brilliant  career.
In  the  end  he  realised  was  fighting  a  futile  battle  against  one  opponent  he  knew  he  could  never  get  the better off - his own body.

Marco Van Basten  carried  the torch of legends during his time with AC Milan.  A torch  passed on to him by Maradona, Cruyff, Pele, Puskas, Di Stefano et al.
He  carried it with grace, dignity and a great love for the game.  In return  the  footballing  World  had  taken  Marco  into their hearts forever.

Marco is  UNIQUE  because  he  express  alone  that  philosophy  that  Dutch football made at the beginning of  70s. The universality  of  one  team  is expressed  only  by one player that  hasn't  weak  points . Marco is able to shoot with both feet, is great with head and he has a play vision of a real director, like Rui Costa or Gianni Rivera.

With  Franco Baresi  and  Gianni  Rivera, Marco  has  been the most loved  player of  AC Milan, that's because he talked little and communicated more with the actions and the goals on the field rather than with the words.

"Van Basten the divine!" wrote Gianni Brera, one of the greatest Italian football journalists.
© 2005-2008. Barrie Spirit Soccer
Marco  Van  Basten
FIFA Magazine:
How difficult was the decision to settle for a physical handicap after being one of the world's greatest athletes?
Marco van Basten:       Actually it was  not  so difficult as  it  might seem. After  three  years of pain I wanted  a normal  life again. Just imagine feeling pain every minute of  the  day,  somewhere in  your body. And that for three years!  It dominated my life. From my ankle the pain bounced  back into  my whole  body. As long as   there's still hope you  can  still  recover, you're  willing  to accept the torture, but  after  so much treatment  and  so many  medical experiments  I   finally realised  I was running up a dead end street.

FIFA Magazine :
After working with the best coaches in the world, how do you look at coaches in general?
Marco van Basten:   I  found out that out of ten so - called top coaches only one is really   able to improve the team. Six out of   ten  do  not harm  and  three out of ten even manage  to  make  the team worse. That's why I admire Johan  Cruyff  and Arrigo Sacchi   so much : two coaches  with a clear vision, who  were   able  to   make  a team   better.  Another crucial distinguishing   mark    of  a great    coach    is   that  his  decision  is never influenced by    fear. Someone    like   Johan  Cruyff    has   no    fear when  he's  sitting  on the bench.   The   Ajax coach Louis  van  Gaal   is another one   who   has exactly   the  same  ideas about football  and  the  absolute will to win.                                                   2000
Dutch hero 
  Marco van Basten
"The Divine!"
Marco won with
AC Milan :
-  Italian Soccer League Championship,
4 Times 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994
- Euro Cup Champion
3 Times 1988, 1989, 1994
-  Italian  Super  Cup,
4 times 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994
-  Euro.   Super    Cup,
3 Times 1989, 1990, 1994
-  Intercontinental        Cup,
2 Times (1989, 1990)

147 attendances, 90 goals (61%)
Van Basten won with
Ajax :
Netherlands Top Division  League Championship,
3 times (1982, 1983, 1985)
Netherlands Cup,
3 Times 1983, 1986, 1987
Euro. Cup Winners Cup,1987

143 attendances, 128 goals (90%)
On 22 February 2008 Van Basten signed a four-year contract with Ajax, starting from July 1.
Top Scorer in Netherlands Top Division Soccer League,
4 Times (1984, 1985, 1986, 1987)
Top Scorer in Italian Top Division Soccer League,
2 Times (1990, 1992)
Europe's Top Scorer,
Top Scorer and Best Player in European Championship,
5 goals in 1988
Van Basten officially left Milan in 1995 and retired from football, stating he would never try management, a promise he has kept until recently when he decided that football was too important for him.
On 29 July 2004, van Basten was named as the new head coach of the Dutch national team.