Marco van Basten Biography

Tue 23 March 2021 | 17:30

In this article, we are going to review some of the most significant moments in Marco van Basten Biography.

Marco van Basten was born on the 31 October 1964. He is one of the most significant football players in the world. His professional career lasted for more than 10 years in which he played in 373 matches and scored 276 goals for all of the the clubs he played for. He also made 58 appearances for the Netherlands national team and scored 24 goals.

Marco van Basten relied on his cleverness, close ball control and skills. After retiring rather early from his playing career, van Basten started a managing career and was somehow successful.

Everything you need to know about Marco van Basten Biography

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Marco van Basten Biography


Marco van Basten Information

Marco van Basten Bio

  • Name in home country:

    Marcel (Marco) van Basten

  • Marco van Basten Date of birth:

     31 October 1964

  • Place of birth:

      Utrecht, Netherlands

  • Marco van Basten Nationality:


  • Age: 


  • Citizenship:


  • Marco van Basten Religion:


Marco van Basten physical stats

  • Height:

      1.86 m

  • Foot:


Football Information

  • Position:

      Attack - Centre-Forward

  • Current club:


  • Time of Retirement:

    1 July 1995

Personal information

  • Wife:

    Liesbeth van Capelleveen

  • Father:

    Joop van Basten

  • Mother:

    Leny van Basten

  • Siblings:

    Carla van Basten, Stanley van Basten

  • Children:

    Alexander van Basten, Deborah van Basten, Rebecca van Basten

Marco van Basten early life

Marco van Basten was born on 31 October 1964 in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

Marco van Basten childhood

began with football. He started playing for EDO club, at age of six. After one year, joined UVV Utrecht. After nine years, Marco van Basten played for Elinkwijk, another team in Utrecht.

Marco van Basten profile

The turning point in

Marco van Basten biography

was joining a great club.


signed Marco when he was 16 years old for the 1981–82 season. So, 

Marco van Basten life story 

began in professional football .  His older brother Stanley had been rejected before. Their father Joop hoped that Ajax will use Stanley in the first team.

Marco van Basten made his first appearance for Ajax on 3 April 1982. He came on as a substitute for Johan Cruyff, and scored his first goal for Ajax in the team's 5–0 victory over NEC.

Marco van Basten was the best goalscorer in the league for four successive seasons, from 1983–84 to 1986–87. He scored 118 goals in 112 games. In the 1985–86 season, he netted 37 goals in 26 league matches. In 1987, he scored the winning goal in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final against

Lokomotive Leipzig


He succeeded to score 128 goals in 133 league games for Ajax.

In 1987, A.C. Milan signed Marco van Basten, before his countrymen Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard who joined the team in 1988. In his first season at the club, Milan won their first Scudetto in eight years. Hoever, van Basten played only 11 matches and because he had trouble by his ankle injury. 

Marco van Basten won the Ballon d'Or as Europe's top footballer in 1988–89 season. He netted 19 goals in Serie A and 32 goals in all competitions, including two goals in the final of the European Cup. Milan won against Steaua București in 1989. In 1989–90, he became the best goal scorer of Serie A and Milan also defended the European Cup after beating 


 1–0. Marco van Basten assisted for Rijkaard's match-winning goal.

Milan were not successful in the 1990–91 season, as Sampdoria won the Italian league. Then Fabio Capello arrived at the club in the following season, and Milan went unbeaten in the league to win another Scudetto. Van Basten scored 25 goals in the league, and became the top scorer again.

In November 1992, he became the first footballer to score four goals in a single Champions League match, against IFK Göteborg, including a bicycle kick. Marco van Basten was named FIFA World Player of the Year in December 1992. 

Milan continued their undefeated run into the 1992–93 season, going 58 matches over two seasons before losing a match. Van Basten was brilliant in the early part of the season. He was again became the European footballer of the year, becoming the third player after Johan Cruyff and Michel Platini to win the prize three times.

His ankle injury recurred in a match against Ancona, making him tolerate another six-month layoff, and undergo some surgeries. He returned for the last matches in the season. Finally, Milan lost 1–0 to Marseille in the Champions League final at the end of the season. This match was Van Basten's final game for Milan. He was substituted in the 86th minute, after a hard tackle behind from Basile Boli injured Van Basten to the third ankle surgery.

Van Basten hoped to play for the Netherlands at the 1994 World Cup as well as for Milan in the 1994–95 season after spending the whole 1993–94 season out of action. 

Nevertheless, his club ordered him not to play in the World Cup due to fear of ruining his recovery. Finally, he found that he could not be recovered on 17 August 1995, and announced his retirement as a player. Van Basten made his final appearance to thank the Milan fans before a home match at San Siro, while Fabio Capello broke down in tears.

Regarding Marco van Basten international career, he had successful spell at the Netherlands national team. He was called up for the 1983 FIFA World Youth Championship. He made his first senior appearance for the Netherlands in the same year. His team-mates in the national team were all very young including Ruud Gullit, Gerald Vanenburg, Ronald Koeman and Frank Rijkaard.

UEFA Euro 1988 was one of the best tournament in

Marco van Basten biography.

 He played a crucial role in the Dutch team's championship. He scored five goals, including a hat trick against England in the first round, the winning goal in the semi-final against West Germany, and a great volley  in the 2–0 final match against the Soviet Union. He also assisted for Gullit's opening goal. He became the top scorer and was named the best player of the tournament.

The Dutch national team was eliminated from the 1990 World Cup early, after losing to West Germany in the second round. Marco van Basten never scored in the World Cup finals.

At UEFA Euro 1992, the Netherlands defeated Germany 3–1 in the first round to top the group stage and reach the semi-finals. They astonishingly lost to the eventual champions Denmark in penalty shootouts. Peter Schmeichel saved a penalty shot from Van Basten. At the end of UEFA Euro 1992, Van Basten was named Player Of The Tournament for a second time.

Style of Play

Marco van Basten was called the "Swan Of Utrecht" for his stylishness and clever attacking play. His height and strength let him to shine in the air, and his technical skill and agility saw him perform remarkable strikes throughout his career, such as volleys and bicycle kicks. 


Marco van Basten was selected as the sixth player in the FIFA Player of the Century internet poll, tenth in the election of European player of the Century held by the IFFHS, and 12th in the election of IFFHS' World Player of the Century . Furthermore, Marco van Basten was ranked eighth in a poll to choose France Football 's "Football Player of the Century." 

Van Basten was selected in UEFA's All-time Euro XI in 2016. In 2017, Marco was named the 13th best football player of all time by FourFourTwo .

In 2017, Demetrio Albertini  named the Dutchman as the greatest player he had ever played with. Another one of Van Basten’s former Milan teammates, Paolo Maldini, believed that Van Basten was the most complete footballer with whom he had ever played.  

Roberto Baggio called Van Basten as the football player with whom he would have most liked to have played, saying: "I'd have liked to play with him. He's the player that I exchanged shirts with most willingly."

Moreover, Fabio Capello, Van Basten's former coach in Milan called Van Basten and Ronaldo as the best footballers he ever coached. Also, Arrigo Sacchi labelled Van Basten as the best attacker of all time in 2014.

He said, "Marco van Basten remains for me the best striker of all time. No other forward has worked as hard for the team as Marco did at Milan. I above all remember him for his elegance, his grace and his incredible quality."

Goal Celebration

Marco van Basten had a simple goal celebration. After scoring a goal he raised his hands happily.

Marco van Basten outside football

Marco van Basten features in FIFA series, and was named in the Ultimate Team Legends in FIFA 14. During his playing career, he was sponsored by Diadora, which is an Italian sportswear company.

Later, Electronic Arts declared that Van Basten's cards in FIFA Ultimate Team would not be available any longer in FIFA 20 and FIFA 21 as the company asserted they had "an expectation that our commitment to quality and diversity is upheld."

Marco van Basten personal life

Marco van Basten does not like much attention in his personal life. Actually, he feels best in his privacy. Let’s have a look at his personal life.

Family, Children and Relationships

Marco van Basten is married to Liesbeth van Capelleveen since 1993. They have one son and two daughters. Their son’s name is Alexander and their daughters are Deborah and Rebecca.


One of his Official Milan Shirt in 1990/91 season which has been signed by Marco van Basten is on the sale on charitystars.com.

Legal Issues

One of the worst moments in Marco van Basten biography is about the reason why he retired, his career was harshly by serious injuries, which finally forced him to retire from football prematurely at the age of 28. Absence of protection from referees and inadequate football rules against tackles from behind were recognized as the source of the injuries which eventually led to his retirement.

van Basten's early retirement due to injuries led to extensive argument over whether tackles from behind should be illegal in football. During the 1994 World Cup, a red was shown for tackles from behind. In 1998, before the World Cup , FIFA absolutely outlawed the tackle from behind. This ruling was known unofficially as the "Van Basten law" in the media.

Marco van Basten Career Statistics


  • Appearances: 373 / Goals: 277


  • Appearances: 58  / Goals: 24


Ajax B

In 1995, Marco van Basten publicly left Milan and retired from football, affirming he would never be a manager. Nonetheless, he changed his decision and took a course with the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB). Van Basten’s first spell as a manager was as an assistant to John van't Schip with the second team of Ajax in 2003–04.


Marco van Basten was appointed as the new manager of the Netherlands national team on 29 July 2004. It caused a little argument, due to the fact that he only just started his managerial career and the media claimed that he did not have enough experience yet.

As a manager, he dropped regular players including Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Edgar Davids and Roy Makaay , because he believed that they were underperforming.

Maybe For the first time in decades, none of the "Big Three" Clubs (Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord) provided the main players for the national team. Instead, stranger AZ led provided players like Denny Landzaat, Barry Opdam, Barry van Galen, Ron Vlaar, Jan Kromkamp and Joris Mathijsen.

The Netherlands were undefeated in their World Cup qualification group and made it through the group stages at the 2006 World Cup. Finally they were eliminated in a strange match where 1–0 they loss to Portugal in the Round of 16.

Marco van Basten was severely criticised for dropping Ruud van Nistelrooy before this match, in favour of Dirk Kuyt, who could not score throughout the whole tournament.

Van Basten recalled Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf for a friendly match against England at the Amsterdam Arena in November 2006.

Marco van Basten declared the end of his long quarrel with Ruud van Nistelrooy, who had previously stated that he would never play for a Dutch national team with Van Basten as its manager. While other players, such as Roy Makaay, Mark van Bommel, Boudewijn Zenden and Edgar Davids, however, remained out of the team.

Van Basten contract with the KNVB for coaching the Dutch national side would expire in 2008. The KNVB had said it wished Van Basten to extend his contract to include the World Cup qualification games to 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

In February 2008, Van Basten signed a four-year deal with Ajax, starting from 1 July. Therefor his last tournament was the UEFA Euro 2008, where the Netherlands astonished with a brilliant first round performance.

They beat Italy 3–0 in their first match, and in the next game they won 4–1 over 2006 World Cup runners-up France. In the third match, due to the fact that they had already been qualified for the next round, Van Basten selected non-regular players like Maarten Stekelenburg, Wilfred Bouma and Ibrahim Afellay for the lineup against Romania.

They won the matvh 2–0. In the quarter-finals, Marco van Basten faced his fellow Dutchman Guus Hiddink who coached Russia national team. After a 1–1 draw during 90 minutes, Russia won the game 3–1 in extra-time. He finished his career at the Dutch national team with a record of 35 wins, 11 draws and six losses in 52 matches.

  • Return to Ajax

Marco van Basten began his career as the manager of Ajax after Euro 2008 but resigned on 6 May 2009 after the club failed to qualify for the Champions League. Van Basten started the season well, but in the second half of the season, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar left for Real Madrid, and Van Basten had to struggle to change his lineups.

Ajax lost 11 points in four games and the league title was not reachable. Though, Ajax still had the opportunity to finish in second place. Two incredible losses against PSV Eindhoven (6–2) and Sparta Rotterdam (4–0) made the conditions worse.

Nonetheless, Marco van Basten's Ajax could finish third in the league. Finally, Van Basten decided to leave Ajax at the end of the 2008–09 season. Consequently, Van Basten became a commentator for Sport1, but he was passionate to return as a manager. He finished his career with a record of 26 wins, 8 draws and 11 losses in 45 matches.


On 13 February 2012, it was declared that Marco van Basten would become the manager of Heerenveen in the 2012–13 season. Van Basten helped Heerenveen reach to an eighth-place finish in the 2012–13 season. He then led them to a fifth-place finish during the 2013–14 season. He finished his career at Heerenveen with a record of 27 wins, 18 draws and 27 losses in 72 matches.


On 18 April 2014, AZ Alkmaar declared that Van Basten would replace Dick Advocaat at the start of the 2014–15 season. On 28 August 2014, Van Basten took a leave of absence for the next match against Dordrecht. Several Dutch news outlets reported that he was suffering of stress-related heart palpitations, and was replaced by his assistant coaches Alex Pastoor and Dennis Haar. 

On 16 September 2014, parties agreed that Van Basten would abandon his role as a coach in order to sign a new deal as assistant coach until 2016. Marco van Basten stated that the stress caused by his full-time career as head coach was causing him physical and mental issues. He finished his spell at the club with two wins and three losses in five matches.

FIFA technical director

After a year at AZ, Marco van Basten decided to take up the available post of assistant coach under the new head coach of the Netherlands national team, Danny Blind. 

Van Basten would work together with Ruud van Nistelrooy, whom Van Basten had at first sent away when he was the manager of the Netherlands. In August 2016, Marco van Basten declared he would leave the career to take up a position at FIFA as technical director.

In March 2018, Marco van Basten had a trip to Iran along with FIFA president Gianni Infantino to mark 100 years of the Iran Football Federation. After meeting the Iranian President  the president of Iranian Football Federation Mehdi Taj at the Tehran Olympic Hotel.

Marco van Basten Honors


  • Eredivisie in 1981–82, 1982–83, 1984–85

  • KNVB Cup in 1982–83, 1985–86, 1986–87

  • UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1986–87


  • Serie A in 1987–88, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94

  • Supercoppa Italiana in 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994

  • European Cup or UEFA Champions League in 1988–89, 1989–90, 1993–94

  • European Supercup in 1989, 1990, 1994

  • Intercontinental Cup in 1989, 1990


  • UEFA European Championship in 1988


  • Ballon d'Or in 1988, 1989, 1992

  • FIFA World Player of the Year in 1992

  • UEFA Best Player of the Year in 1989, 1990, 1992

  • European Cup Top Scorer  in 1988–89

  • Serie A Golden Boot: 1989–90 in 1991–92

  • Eredivisie Top Scorer in 1983–84, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87

  • European Silver Boot in 1983–84

  • Dutch Footballer of the Year in 1984–85

  • European Golden Boot in 1985–86

  • World Golden Boot in 1985–86

  • Bravo Award in 1987

  • Onze d'Argent in 1987, 1992

  • Onze d'Or in 1988, 1989

  • IFFHS World’s Best Player in 1988, 1989

  • World Soccer Player of the Year in 1988, 1992

  • In UEFA Euro 1988 he was the top Scorer and Best Player with 5 goals

  • UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament in 1988, 1992

  • FIFA 100 (List of the best living players selected by Pele) in 2004

  • Italian Football Hall of Fame in 2012

  • UEFA Euro All-time XI

  • A.C. Milan Hall of Fame

  • IFFHS Legends

  • Ballon d'Or Dream Team in 2020


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