Ruud Gullit is a Dutch football manager and former footballer who played professionally in the 1980s and 1990s as a midfielder or forward. He was the captain of the Netherlands national team that was victorious at UEFA Euro 1988 and was also a member of the squad for the 1990 FIFA World Cup and Euro 1992.
Gullit was born as Rudi Dil in Amsterdam to George Gullit, a Surinamese migrant who arrived in the Netherlands with Herman Rijkaard, father of Frank Rijkaard, and Ria Dil, his mistress, from the Jordaan district of Amsterdam. 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.
Since 1978, Gullit signed professionally for HFC Haarlem under coach and former West Bromwich Albion player Barry Hughes. Gullit made 91 league appearances for Haarlem, scoring 32 goals. He made his debut for the club at just 16 years old, becoming at the time the youngest player in the history of the Eredivisie. Likewise, in his first year at Haarlem, the club finished bottom of the Eredivisie, but bounced back the following season winning the Eerste Divisie. Gullit was named as the best player in the Eerste Divisie that season. Since in the 1981–82 season, Gullit was in fine form as Haarlem finished fourth and qualified for Europe for the only time in their history.
In 1985, Gullit moved to PSV for 1.2 million Dutch guilders and wound up scoring 46 goals in 68 league appearances for the team. It was at PSV that Gullit really began to establish himself as a world class footballer. Similarly, and his distinctive, dreadlocked appearance made certain that he would catch the eye of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Silvio Berlusconi signed Gullit for Milan in 1987, paying the then world record transfer fee of 18 million guilders as a replacement for Ray Wilkins. Among his teammates at that club were compatriots Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard. And that was along with Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi. Gullit’s exploits with first PSV and then Milan helped him win the Ballon d’Or award in 1987 which he dedicated to Nelson Mandela.
In 1981, on his 19th birthday, Gullit made his international debut as a substitute for the Netherlands national team. And the debut was against Switzerland, a game the Dutch lost 2–1.
Style of play
A complete and versatile player, Gullit epitomised the ethos of Total Football as he was naturally adept in several positions. Similarly, was capable of aiding his team defensively as well as offensively due to his work-rate. Moreover, ball-winning abilities, and tactical intelligence in addition to his skill and physical qualities. Normally deployed as an attacking midfielder or as a second striker. Similarly, he was capable of playing anywhere in midfield or along the front-line, on either wing. Or even in the centre, and could also play as a sweeper. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, his foremost attribute was his athleticism. As he used his strength and speed, combined with his technique, to great effect; he was also strong in the air, as he was tall, powerful, and an excellent jumper.
Gullit has been married three times and has six children, two from each of his marriages. He is a self-declared Feyenoord supporter.
- Full name: Ruud Gullit
- Birth name: Rudi Dil
- Date of birth 1 September 1962
- Age: 57
- Place of birth: Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Height: 91 m (6 ft 3 in)
- Playing position: Midfielder / Forward
- Spouse: Estelle Cruyff (m. 2000–2013), etc.
- Number: 4 (Chelsea F.C. / Midfielder), 4 (U.C. Sampdoria / Forward)
- Children: Maxim Gullit, Cheyenne Gullit, Quincy Gullit, Felicity Gullit, Charmayne Gullit, Joëlle Gullit
- Net Worth: $12 million
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