Marco van Basten

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Marco van Basten : biography

31 October 1964 –

AC Milan

In 1987, Silvio Berlusconi signed Van Basten for Milan, with fellow countrymen Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard joining in 1988. In his first season, Milan won their first Scudetto in eight years, but Van Basten played only 11 games and was constantly troubled by an ankle injury.

In 1988–89, Van Basten won the Ballon d’Or as Europe’s top footballer. He scored 19 goals in Serie A and scored two goals in the final of the European Cup as Milan triumphed against Steaua Bucureşti.

In 1989–90, he became Capocannoniere, Serie A’s leading goal scorer, and Milan successfully defended the European Cup after beating Benfica in the final match.

Milan struggled in the 1990–91 season, as Sampdoria won the Scudetto. After Van Basten fell out with Arrigo Sacchi, Berlusconi sacked the manager. Fabio Capello took over the following season, and Milan went undefeated in the league to win another Scudetto. Van Basten scored 25 league goals, and became Capocannoniere again.

In November 1992, he became the first player to score four goals in a Champions League match, against IFK Göteborg, including a picture perfect bicycle kick. The record was later equalled by other players, but was bettered only 20 years later, when Lionel Messi scored five goals against Bayer Leverkusen during the 2011–12 Champions League season.

Milan stretched their unbeaten run into the 1992–93 season, going 58 matches over two seasons before they lost a game. Van Basten played exceptionally well in the early part of the season. He was again voted the European player of the year, becoming the third player after Johan Cruyff and Michel Platini to win the award three times.

His troublesome ankle injury recurred in a game against A.C. Ancona, forcing him to undergo another series of surgery. He returned for the last few games in the season, before Milan lost to Marseille in the Champions League final. The match was Van Basten’s final game for the Italian club.

He had been hopeful of playing for his country at the 1994 World Cup as well as for his club in the 1994–95 season after spending the whole 1993–94 season out of action (missing Milan’s victory in the European Cup as well as their Serie A title glory),. ITV.com. but his club ordered him not to take part in the World Cup amid fear of ruining his rehabilitation. He finally conceded defeat in his battle to recover on 17 August 1995, when he announced his retirement as a player after two whole years on sidelines.

After retirement

He played in the Demetrio Albertini testimonial at the San Siro in March 2006, and headed in a goal before being substituted early in the first half. On 22 July 2006, he also returned for the testimonial to celebrate the 11-year Arsenal career of Dennis Bergkamp, in what was the first game played at the new Emirates Stadium. He played in the second half for the Ajax legends team. He entered the match as part of a double substitution that also introduced Johan Cruyff. He took part in Tyskie’s (Polish beer) advertising campaign with Luis Figo and Zbigniew Boniek.

International

Van Basten’s talent was already noticed at a young age and he was called up for the 1983 FIFA World Youth Championship. He made his senior debut that same year. At the UEFA Euro 1988, Van Basten scored a total of five goals, including a hat trick against England, the winning goal in the semi-final against West Germany, and a spectacular volley in the final against the Soviet Union. He was the tournament’s top scorer and was the only player to score more than two goals.

The Dutch national team exited early in the World Cup in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, losing to West Germany in the second round. Van Basten never scored in the World Cup Finals.

The Netherlands reached the semi-final of UEFA Euro 1992 when they lost to Denmark in a penalty shootout, with Peter Schmeichel saving a penalty shot from Van Basten.

International matches

. Wereld van Oranje. Retrieved 29 January 2013.