Club: AC Milan
Stats by Fides
Growth Type: Early/Lasting
INFO (by Classical):
Wikipedia wrote:]Franklin Edmundo Rijkaard (born 30 September 1962) is a Dutch football manager and former player. Rijkaard has played for Ajax, Real Zaragoza and Milan, and represented his national side 73 times, scoring 10 goals. In his coaching career, he has been at the helm of the Dutch national side, Sparta Rotterdam and Barcelona. He is currently the head coach of Turkish Süper Lig side Galatasaray. His mother is Dutch and his father is Surinamese.
Rijkaard was just 17 when Ajax coach Leo Beenhakker gave him his senior squad debut 23 August 1980. He made an immediate impact, scoring for his team 0–3 in the 2–4 away victory over Go Ahead Eagles, the first league match in the 1980–81 season. He would play another 23 games for Ajax in his first season, netting a total of 4 goals. In 1981–82 he won his first Dutch Eredivisie championship with Ajax, and went on to successfully defend that title in the following 1982-83 season. Rijkaard stayed at Ajax for seven and a half seasons, as a central defender (1981–82, 1982–83, 1984–85), a right midfielder and a central midfielder (1985–86). During this period he won the Dutch league championship three times (1981–82, 1982–83, 1984–85) and the Dutch Cup (KNVB-Cup 3 times (1982–83, 1985–86, 1986–87). In the 1986–87 season he won the European Cup II (Cup Winners' Cup) with Ajax (Final: Ajax 1-0 Lokomotiv Leipzig). In September 1987, what would have been Rijkaard's third season (1987–88) under Dutch football legend Johan Cruijff as head coach, Rijkaard stormed off the training field and vowed never to play under him again. He was signed by the Portuguese club Sporting CP, but he signed too late to be eligible to play in any competition. He was immediately loaned out to Spanish team Real Zaragoza, but upon completing his first season at Zaragoza, was signed by Italian side Milan.
His five seasons at Milan made him a legend. It was coach Arrigo Sacchi who saw Rijkaard as playing a pivotal role at Milan and transformed the central defender into a world class holding midfielder, where the Dutchman's aggressive and firm style would go on to influence the likes of Patrick Vieira to replicate in future years. Playing alongside fellow country-men Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit, Rijkaard won the European Cup twice (in 1989 against Steaua Bucureşti and 1990, against Benfica) and the domestic Serie A championship twice. In the 1990 European Cup Final he scored the only goal to win the cup for Milan. He was also believed to have apologized to Cruijff while at Milan.
Rijkaard's temperament though, was still in question, that became evident when he spat multiple times on Rudi Völler during the 1990 FIFA World Cup, which the Dutch entered as favourites. The Netherlands went on to lose the match, in a tournament that was marred by a pre-tournament coach change and an underperforming squad. Rijkaard's spitting on Rudi Völler earned him the media nickname of "the llama", and for Völler accusations of racism.
Ajax return (1993–1995)
After five seasons in Italy, Rijkaard returned to Ajax in 1993. With Louis van Gaal at the helm, Rijkaard and Danny Blind formed the experienced defensive core of the Ajax team that won the first two of three consecutive Dutch Championships. Ajax were the unbeaten champions of the Netherlands in 1994–95 season and carried that success into Europe. In his final game, Rijkaard won the European Cup (which had been renamed as the Champions League) again, with a 1–0 victory over Milan in the 1995 final at the Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna. He was named in the FIFA 100, Pele's list of the 125 World's Greatest Footballers.
 International career (1981–1994)
On the international stage, Rijkaard made his debut for the Netherlands in 1981. He was part of the Dutch side that won Euro 1988 with a 2–0 win in the final over the Soviet Union, playing at center-back alongside Ronald Koeman. He won a total of 73 caps and scored 10 goals. Rijkaard also played for the Netherlands during the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups and at Euro 1992.
Rijkaard was involved in an unsavoury incident with Rudi Völler when West Germany played the Netherlands in the 1990 World Cup. Rijkaard was booked for a bad tackle on Völler, as Rijkaard took up position for the free kick he spat in Völler's hair. Völler complained to the referee and was booked as well. From the resulting free kick, Völler then dived, according to himself to avoid a collision with Dutch Keeper Hans van Breukelen, while others, notably Rijkaard and van Breukelen, saw it as a dive in hopes for a penalty. Van Breukelen was angry at this but Rijkaard again confronted Völler by twisting his ear and stamping on his foot. Both Völler and Rijkaard were sent off but Rijkaard again spat in Völler's hair as they left the pitch and was rumoured to have repeated this on the touchline. The German press nicknamed him "Llama" for his spitting.
At Euro 1992, Rijkaard scored a late equalizer for the Netherlands in a 2–2 draw with Denmark at the semi final stage but the Dutch went out on penalties. He made his final appearance for the Netherlands in the 3–2 defeat against eventual winners Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Rijkaard was ranked 3rd in France Football Golden Ball in 1988 and 1989. He was also 3rd in FIFA Best Player in 1988 as well as for the best 11 of Euro Cup 1988.
Frank Rijkaard was one of the World's best ever defensive midfielders. The cornerstone of the amazing squads he played as well of the Mechanic Orange that delighted the world as no Orange Squad as done before or after that except for Classical Legend '74s Cruyff Team.
He gave power, stamina, progression and completeness to every team he belonged. In one word again - cornerstone.
One who could also play the center back of the defense as well as engaging on attacking moves with easy flair and aim some dead blast finishing too. He possessed enormous physical fit, and his aerial game was almost flawless, he jumped high and he knew how to head the ball, being it defensive or offensive played. Running and dribbling were also under his master which made him a complete player more than just a good defensive mid with great positioning and superior tackle ability.
His left foot was not a blind one, and several goals from mid-shooting (another trademark of Rijkaard) were scored with his left foot.
He won several titles with the teams he played, being part of a classic Ajax from the starting '80s to colossus Milan from late 80s to beginning of the '90s and finally newborn Ajax destined to regain the Champions League again. On the middle of that he was also a member of amazing Netherlands squad from the '80s until the mid '90s.
A legend of Modern Age football.
(check his long pass at 0:48)
(check his amazing heading at 1:16)
(10 goals at Ajax time)