Ruud Gullit, perhaps the finest attacking midfielder of his generation, carried out an instrumental role for AC Milan and the Dutch national side in the 1980s.
Born on this day in 1962, the Dutchman completed his first steps in achieving hall-of-fame recognition after a world record transfer to AC from PSV Eindhoven. Easily recognisable thanks to his mane, he, alongside fellow compatriots Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, formed the formidable Italian side’s fearsome Dutch Trio.
Under the guidance of Arrigo Sacchi, Ruud Gullit was able to thrive, succeeding in Milan’s bid to claim their first Serie A title in nine years. His AC Milan spell would end with a total of three Serie As, two European Cups, a Ballon d’Or award and two World Soccer Player of the Year accolades.
After a brief stint with Sampdoria, where he lifted the Italian Cup, Gullit joined Chelsea, leading them to FA Cup success as player-manager in his debut season. This would be the first time in 26 years the Londoners claimed major trophy silverware, thus engraving the Dutchman’s name in the history books for being the first overseas manager to snap up the English trophy.
His successful Chelsea player-manager tenure ended following a dispute with the board of directors. Ruud Gullit later managed Newcastle United, Feyenoord and L.A. Galaxy.
More sport stars born on this day:
1971: Hakan Sukur, “the Bull of the Bosphorus” won a total of 14 major titles with Galatasaray (44).
1983: Jose Antonio Reyes, Espanyol forward, formerly with Arsenal, Real and Atletico Madrid, Benfica and Sevilla (33).
1986: Gael Monfils, the Frenchman won six ATP Tour titles (29).
1989: Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool and England striker, who previously played for Chelsea and Manchester City (26).