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The Netherlands national football team is colloquially referred to as Oranje and Het Nederlands Elftal, the dutch eleven. The Dutch football team hold the record for playing most World Cup finals, but they were unable to win the world cup trophy yet. However they won 1988 UEFA Championship. The team is managed by Louis van Gaal currently, though he has announced to leave after 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
With their bright orange shirts and their art of playing ‘Total football’, they’ve made themselves among the most enjoyable sides to watch.
Today, in our World Cup count down, we will bring you the list of top 10 Dutch footballers of all time.
The list of Top 10 Dutch footballers of all time:
10. Edwin van der Sar (1995-2008, no goals in 130 caps)
He is one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of Dutch football. The star shone brightly throughout his 13-year international career.
His mammoth 130 caps makes him the highest appearance in Holland’s history. Van der Sar was named Dutch footballer of the year in 1998. He was unbeaten for record 1,311 minutes without conceding a league goal during the 2008-09 season.
9. Fass Wilkes (1946-1961, 35 goals in 38 caps)
He remained fourth in goalscoring for the Netherlands, but his 35 goals in only 38 matches was impressive enough to place him among the greats. The Dutch striker saw his career disrupted with long absence from international football between 1949 and 1955, when the age of Wilkes would have been 25-32.
He was famous for his creativity and mazy dribbling. His appeal was such that Wilkes even inspired a cartoon character in his home.
8. Willem van Hanegem (1968-1979, six goals in 52 caps)
Van hanegem teamed up with Cruyff and remained as a key component in the Netherlands golden era of the 1970s. when the Dutches reached the final of 1974 World Cup, he was an integral part of the team. Two years later, his team finished third in the European Championship. But alas! He was one of many talented Dutch players who has retired without any international honours.
He is in the number 8 position in our list of top 10 Dutch footballers of all time.
7. Frank Rijkaard (1981-1994, 10 goals in 73 caps)
Frank Rijkaard was right at the forefront of Holland success in 1980s and early 1990s. The defensive midfielder/centre-back established himself as one of the great players in the world in either position. His greatest success in international career came when Holland won their one and only trophy in their history at the European Championship in 1988. Rijkaard was named twice as the Dutch footballer of the year and he came third on two occasions in the FIFA Ballon D’or voting. Rijkaard made his place in our list of top 10 Dutch footballers of all time.
6. Ronald Koeman (1982-1994, 14 goals in 78 caps)
Ronald Koeman was another member of the European championship winning side in 1988. He was one of the finest attacking centre-backs the football world has ever known. He was well known for his deadly free kicks and powerful shorts throughout the world of football. Ronald Koeman retired as the highest-scoring defender in the history of Dutch football.
5. Johan Neeskens (1970-1981, 17 goals in 49 caps)
Neeskens usually started the match in central midfield but was versatile enough to fill anywhere in order to introduce the ‘Total Football’.
Once the great Cruyff had retired from the international football, it was Neeskens who helped the national team to reach their second consecutive World Cup final in 1978. That match ended in disappointment as did four years earlier.
4. Dennis Bergkamp (1990-2000, 37 goals in 79 caps)
He possessed one of the finest techniques ever seen on a football field as the world watched his stunning goal against Argentina in a tight World Cup quarter final. He was named Dutch footballer of the year twice and in FIFA Ballon D’or voting he came second and third in 1992 and 1993 respectively. Dennis Bergkamp also stood third in the FIFA World player of the year awards on two different occasions.
3. Ruud Gullit (1981-1994, 17 goals in 66 caps)
This versatile attacking midfielder holds a unique place in the Dutch football history and joining with Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, he remained an unmistakable figure on the field. He was the first player to lift international silverware for the Netherlands as Captain of the European Championship winning team in 1988. Ruud Gullit won the prestigious FIFA Ballon D’or in 1987.
2. Marco van Basten (1983-1992, 24 goals in 58 caps)
Had injury not forced him to retire at the age of just 28, van Basten may well have been regarded as great as Pele and Diego Maradona. Despite his early retirement, he won FIFA Ballon D’or award three times – the tally only beaten by Messi. At the 1988 European Championship, van Basten netted five goals to fire Holland to their first international trophy. He was named player of the tournament.
1. Johan Cruyff (1966-1977, 33 goals in 48 caps)
Johan Cruyff had such a big impact on football that even a move on the field ‘The Cruyff Turn’ was named after him. He was a finest conductor of the ‘Total football’, bringing a new dimension to the sports.
Cruyff flourished brighter than most when he led Netherlands to the final of 1974 World Cup. The Dutch defeat to Franz Beckenbauer’s West Germany didn’t stop Cruyff to be naming the Player of the Tournament. He was named the second greatest footballer of the 20th century by the International Football Federation of history and statistics. The list is topped by the Great Pele. Now, he is the leader in our list of top 10 Dutch footballers of all time..