Friday, December 23, 2011

Ruud Gullit

Ruud Gullit (born as Ruud Dil, September 1, 1962 in Amsterdam) OON is a Dutch football manager and former football player, who played professionally in the 1980s and 1990s. He was the captain of the Netherlands national team that was victorious at Euro 88 and was also a member of the squad for the 1990 World Cup. He was named the European Footballer of the Year in 1987 and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989. He was a versatile player, playing in numerous positions during his career. Gullit was working to promote the Belgian-Dutch 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup bid.

Early life
Gullit was born Ruud Dil in Amsterdam to George Gullit, a Suriname migrant, and Ria Dil, his buitenvrouw, from the Amsterdam Jordaan inner city district. The family lived in one split level room on the top floor of a small apartment building. Gullit's father worked as an economics teacher at a local school, his mother as a custodian at the Rijksmuseum.

Gullit developed his football skills in the confines of the Rozendwarsstraat, and street football was instrumental in his formative years. Gullit's first team were the Meerboys, where he joined as a junior in 1970. However, at the age of 10 Gullit moved from the Jordaan to Amsterdam Old West where he played street football alongside Frank Rijkaard. Gullit joined the DWS club after his move, and came to the attention of the Dutch youth team, where he played alongside such future greats as Erwin Koeman, Ronald Koeman and Wim Kieft.

It was during his time at DWS that Ruud first took to using his father's surname, rather than his registered surname, as he thought it sounded more like a football player. He retained his mother's surname, officially, and continues to sign all contracts as Ruud Dil.

Playing style
Gullit epitomised the ethos of Total Football as he was naturally adept in several positions. His foremost attribute was his athleticism, as he used his strength and speed to great effect, as well as being excellent in the air. Yet unusually for a man of his stature Gullit also possessed outstanding natural balance and poise that gave a graceful style to his game. Gullit thus combined technical ability with physical presence to become an iconic figure in world football.

Gullit's brilliance prompted George Best to comment in 1990, "Ruud Gullit is a great player by any standards. He has all the skills. He's not afraid to do things with the ball. And he looks as if he's enjoying every second of it. By my reckoning that's what makes him an even better player than Maradona. Both have the key quality you will find in all the best players: balance. You just can't knock them off the ball. It was the same with Pelé, Beckenbauer and Cruijff."

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