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).
Countless athletes have later fathered sons who would go on to make their mark in professional sports. However, on this day in 1990 two generations graced the same field.
When Ken Griffey Sr joined Ken Griffey Jr in his debut appearance for the Seattle Mariners, they became the first father-son teammates to feature in the same MLB tie.
They went as far as scoring one after the other, even hitting back-to-back singles in the first innings.
When inquisited post-game, Griffey Sr remarked: “This is the pinnacle for me, something I’m very proud of. You can talk about the ‘76 batting race, the two World Series I played in and the All-Star Games I played in. But this is No. 1. This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
More memorable events on this day:
1968: Gary Sobers makes history after hitting six sixes in one over for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan.
1969: Former world heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano dies in a plane crash.
2003: The ninth World Championships in Athletics close in France.
2004: Manchester United complete the £27 million signing of England striker Wayne Rooney from Everton.
Every sport proudly illuminates with the memory of its legendary players. The likes of Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Joe Montana have enjoyed unprecedented success with tantalising performances at the height of their careers. In the hockey-verse, few can boast belonging to the same pedigree as Jean Beliveau.
Born on this day in Quebec, the Canadian would go on to become one of the greatest to grace the ice, establishing himself as the powerhouse of the Montreal Canadiens, winning an astonishing 17 Stanley Cup titles: ten as player and seven as executive.
‘Le Gros Bill’ professionally featured in the Quebec Major Hockey League before joining the NHL, evidencing his talent, resolve and intelligence as an almighty force to be reckoned with. He garnered numerous accolades: two Hart Memorial Trophies, one Art Ross Memorial Trophy, and the inaugural Conn Smythe Trophy.
Following his retirement, Beliveau went through a turbulent period of health-related shortcomings before passing away at aged 83 in December 2014.
More sports stars born on this day:
1971: Padraig Harrington, Ireland’s three-time major winner and Ryder Cup player (45).
1982: Pepe Reina, Spaniard goalkeeper for Italian club Napoli and the national team (34).
1982: Larry Fitzgerald, American wide receiver for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and nine-time Pro Bowler (33).
1988: David Ospina, Colombian goalkeeper for Premier League’s Arsenal and the national team (28).