Football Legends: Ronald Koeman

Let’s remember one of the best players in the history of Dutch football – the central defender who scored over 250 goals in his career, Ronald Koeman.

Born in Zaandam on 21 March 1963, Ronald Koeman started his professional career at FC Groningen, making his debut at the age of 17 years old.

The young defender scored 35 goals in his three seasons with the Green-White Army, earning a transfer to Eredivisie champions Ajax and his first call up for the Dutch national team back in 1983.

He won the Eredivisie in his second season with the Jews but switched Amsterdam for Eindhoven at the start of the 1986–87 campaign.

Koeman spent three seasons at PSV, winning three successive Dutch Championships, two KNVB Cups and the first and still only European Cup for the club in 1988.

He scored 63 goals in all competitions for the club, which is an average of 21 goals per season, a truly outstanding number for a defensive player.

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The defender was one of Oranje’s leaders in the UEFA Euro 1988 triumph – the first major tournament in the history of the Holland national team.

Another Dutch great, Johan Cruyff took Koeman to his Barcelona ‘Dream Team’ during the summer of 1989. Koeman won the Copa del Rey in his first season at Camp Nou, netting four goals in his seven appearances in the competition.

His time in Barcelona was probably the best part of Ronald Koeman’s glorious career. He won four successive La Liga titles between 1991 and 1994 and scored the winning goal in the club’s first European Cup triumph. It was a trademark free-kick deep into extra time in the 1992 Final against Sampdoria at Wembley, becoming the first player to win European Cups with two different clubs at the time.

One of his most notable campaigns at an individual level came in 1993-94 when he won UEFA Champions League top scorer award. His eight goals in the competition guided Barcelona to the Champions League final, where they lost 4-0 to a flying AC Milan side.

Ronald Koeman spent the last two season of his career at Feyenoord, becoming one of the few players to represent all of Dutch football’s “Big Three”.

He will always be remembered for his intimidating presence and his excellent passing range, while his right foot was a weapon of mass destruction.

Koeman was a free-kick and penalty-kick specialist. He is Barcelona’s second-highest goalscorer from free kicks, behind only Lionel Messi, with 26 goals from set pieces in all competitions. His goal tally of 254 goals in his entire career makes him the top scoring defender in European football.

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