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Phillip Cocu Biography

We all know him as of the best and most versatile midfielders in the history of Dutch football and one of the best young Dutch managers of his time. In this article, we will take a look at Phillip Cocu biography.

Phillip Cocu, born 29 October 1970 in Eindhoven, Netherlands, is a Dutch soccer coach and former footballer. He primarily played as a midfielder but was also able to play as a striker or defender when necessary. For the majority of his career as a player, Cocu played for PSV Eindhoven, Vitesse and FC Barcelona. Additionally, he played 101 matches for the Dutch national team. His distinguishing characteristics were his versatility, leadership, vision and passing. He retired from active professional football in 2008.

Between 2008 and 2012 Cocu served as assistant to national team manager Bert van Marwijk. He then returned to PSV in 2009, first serving as a youth, assistant and interim coach, and was appointed head coach in 2013. He continued to do so until 2018. In 2018 Cocu was the coach of Fenerbahçe for four months, and then from July 2019 to November 2020, he was the coach of Derby County.

When his clubs had problems with filling a particular position, Cocu would often come in very useful. With Vitesse, Cocu started as a left-winger, until Herbert Neumann converted him to a midfielder. Cocu's regular position was central midfield, but in his career, he also played as a left midfielder, left-back and central defender.

All You Need to Know About Phillip Cocu Biography

In the 1998 World Cup in France, Cocu even had the opportunity to play as a second striker in the second group match against South Korea. With PSV, Cocu played in many positions because of many injuries there. He was also a substitute for Arouna Koné and played as a striker for a while.

Phillip Cocu Information

Now that we know him much better, in this section of

Phillip Cocu biography

we will share some more general information about him such as

Phillip Cocu nationality


Phillip Cocu Bio

  • Full Name: Phillip John William Cocu

  • Nickname: N/A

  • Profession: Professional Football Coach

Phillip Cocu Physical Stats

  • Weight: 77 Kg

  • Height: 1.85 m

  • Eye Color: Blue

  • Hair Color: Light Brown

Phillip Cocu Football Information

  • Position: Midfielder

  • Jersey Number: 8

  • Professional Debut: 1988

Phillip Cocu Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 29 October 1970

  • Birth Place: Eindhoven, Netherlands

  • Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

  • Nationality: Dutch

Stay tuned as we are going to share some information about

Phillip Cocu childhood

in this section of

Phillip Cocu biography


Phillip Cocu Early Life

Phillip Cocu, the son of Peter and Rina, was born in Tongelre, a part of Eindhoven in the east of the Netherlands. At the age of 3, he and his parents relocated to Zevenaar. Cocu started playing football at amateur club SV DCS. Several years later, before Cocu left for Alkmaar, he spent a short time playing for the B1 youth team of

De Graafschap

. When he arrived in Alkmaar, Cocu went to play for amateur club AFC '34.

AZ Alkmaar

It was there that he was scouted by AZ, where he subsequently started playing his professional football. After playing for the second team, Cocu was added to the AZ squad. He played his debut on 22 January 1989 in an away game against N.E.C. (3-1 loss). During the remainder of the season, he would become and remain a key player. AZ narrowly missed out on the qualification in 1989 and therefore did not manage to get promoted.

Things went better for AZ in the 1989/1990 season; they managed to reach the national league, despite getting fewer points than the season before. Having Cocu in midfield, who went on to play 35 games, AZ ended up in fourth place. AZ finished last in the playoff pool, however, behind NAC and FC Zwolle. By the end of that season, Cocu left for Vitesse.


Since their promotion in 1989, Vitesse had made a name for themselves in the national league, and in the 1990/1991 season with Cocu in the team, Vitesse once again went for the top places. But unfortunately for Cocu, his first match was a disaster; he broke his right calf bone against Sparta and was out of action for a long time.

It was mainly due to a lack of adequate medical supervision that he was sidelined as a footballer from August 1990 to April 1991 and his career progress came to a halt. Eventually, he played only 8 matches in the 1990/1991 season.

During the following years, Vitesse managed to reach European competitions, with Cocu playing on each occasion. The highlight was the third round match against Real Madrid in the 1992/1993 season. The team lost 1-0 twice. There was growing interest from big clubs in Cocu. The likes of Ajax and Arsenal were interested in Cocu, but chairman Karel Aalbers put a steep price tag on him.

Furthermore, he was unable to make an international appearance with the Dutch national team, which stood in the way of his transfer to the United Kingdom (Arsenal). Eventually, Cocu was no longer able to keep up with Vitesse and he had the choice between Feyenoord or PSV. He returned to his hometown, where he joined forces with his former teammate Chris van der Weerden.

Stay tuned as we are going to share some information about his playing career at PSV in this section of

Phillip Cocu biography


PSV Eindhoven

In 1995 Cocu joined PSV and also became a starting player instantly. Cocu played his first match for PSV on Friday, August 18, 1995, in an away match at De Baandert stadium against Fortuna Sittard. The game ended in a 1-3 win. In his first season, Cocu went on to win the cup together with the likes of Jaap Stam, Ronaldo and Luc Nilis.

He was called up as an international in 1996 by the then national coach Guus Hiddink. He debuted with a substitute against Germany. He would subsequently grow into an important and supporting player of the Dutch national team in the ten years that followed. In the next season (1996) things went much better; PSV won the national title. The next season (1997) was also the year in which Cocu played in the UEFA

Champions League


Unfortunately, it was not a success; PSV was knocked out in the first round. In the middle of the 1997/98 season, Cocu chose not to extend his contract and to leave on a free transfer. Internazionale, AC Milan, Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid and Arsenal were all interested, but it was FC Barcelona that he signed for.

Stay tuned as we are going to share some information about his playing career at


in this section of Phillip Cocu biography.

F.C. Barcelona

At Camp Nou, Cocu was joined by his Dutch countrymen including then coach Louis Van Gaal, Michael Reiziger, Frank de Boer, Patrick Kluivert, Boudewijn Zenden, Ronald de Boer and Winston Bogarde. In a midfield partnership with Luis Figo and Pep Guardiola, Cocu made 36 league appearances and scored 12 goals, contributing to winning the league title in 1999.

Cocu scored a brace against Real Sociedad in March (2-0). During his second season, the team ended up second in

La Liga

behind Deportivo de La Coruña. In his second season, Cocu scored six league goals, including two against Real Oviedo (a 3-2 win) and two against Athletic Bilbao (a 0-4 win). Barcelona reached the 1999-00 Champions League semifinals that season, only to be eliminated by



It was Cocu who scored a goal to pull one back in that match. However, in 2000, Van Gaal left the team and was replaced by Lorenzo Serra Ferrer and Carles Rexach. Over the next two seasons, team performances declined further with Barcelona twice finishing fourth in the league.

In 2001, Pep Guardiola left Barcelona, letting midfielders such as Xavi and Gabri play more. During the 2001-02 season, Barcelona made it to the semifinals of the Champions League again but was knocked out by Real Madrid. By 2002, coach Louis van Gaal returned, who selected Cocu as the second captain behind Luis Enrique. However, the 2002-03 season was the worst in years for Barcelona. Nonetheless, the team finished sixth in La Liga.

After Van Gaal was dismissed from the start of the following season, Cocu sustained a torn knee ligament in a Champions League match against Inter Milan which ended (0-0). He was out of action for two months. As his contract was due to expire in 2003, he waited for a decision on an extension until after the Barcelona presidential elections. He intended to join PSV if talks with Barcelona did not go through, but they ultimately agreed to a one-year extension in June 2003.

The 2003-04 season kicked off under new coach Frank Rijkaard. He scored Barcelona's first goal in the league, which proved decisive in a 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao. In total, he played 36 league games and also performed as the team's captain. Barcelona finished second in La Liga. At the beginning of 2004, Barcelona announced that they would not renew Cocu's contract. They failed to reach an agreement as the player did not agree to a significantly reduced salary offer.

Disappointed by the club's decision, Cocu went back to PSV, where his offer to return to the team was still open. He received a plaque for his loyalty to the club from president Joan Laporta before his departure. In total, he played 205 league games and made a total of 292 appearances for the Barcelona team. These became Barcelona's records for a foreign player; they remained in force until Lionel Messi broke them in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Return to PSV

Cocu was introduced in June 2004 in Philips Stadium. At that time he revealed that he wanted to create something beautiful in Eindhoven and that Hiddink had played a major role in the transfer. In the midfield, Cocu was going to form a trio with Mark van Bommel and Johann Vogel. Together with these three, they would achieve PSV's second most successful season ever.

PSV was unstoppable in the league and won the national title. They also took the cup in De Kuip by beating

Willem II

. Cocu and PSV reached the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in history. They managed to do this, by victories over AS Monaco and Olympique Lyonnais (with a goal by Cocu in the away game, 1-1) and by reaching the semi-finals, in which PSV was stopped by AC Milan (2-0 loss away, 3-1 win at home with two goals by Cocu).

Cocu was given the captain's armband in the 2005/2006 season following Van Bommel's departure. Having Timmy Simons and Ibrahim Afellay as new partners, PSV made it to the second round of the Champions League for the second consecutive year. By the end of the season, Cocu's contract expired. Hiddink announced that Cocu could be added to the technical staff, however, Cocu was still indispensable and the leader of the team for the time being.

During the 2006/2007 season, Cocu also played at PSV and won his third consecutive national title with the club. He scored his goal (the 5-1) in the final game of the season against Vitesse and this turned out to be the decisive goal with which he propelled his team to the title. Following this game, he declared his departure from PSV during an interview with a reporter from NOS Studio Sport. Even after his departure as a footballer, PSV remained interested in Cocu.

Both coach Ronald Koeman and general manager Jan Reker were keen on adding Cocu to the club's technical staff. But Cocu chose to play another year in the United Arab Emirates at the club Al-Jazira. He had a prior consultation with Al Jazira staff Abe Knoop and Lázsló Jámbor (who worked for


), resulting in him signing a one-year deal with the United Arab Emirates club in August 2007.

He scored his first goal in his first game, playing against Al Wasl, in the team's 2-1 win. Cocu appeared in 17 league games for Al-Jazira, scoring four goals. Following the season, Cocu had been considering staying on for another year, but eventually chose to return to the


and dedicate himself to finishing a professional coaching course.

Dutch National Team

Cocu came close to making his debut for the Dutch national team on a number of occasions when he was playing for Vitesse. For a while, there was even talk of his participation in the 1994 World Cup in the United States. However, his debut came on April 24, 1996, at De Kuip Stadium during a friendly match against Germany.

In the 56th minute, Cocu stepped in for Richard Witschge. In addition, Cocu was allowed to participate in the 1996 European Championship in England. He appeared in the group matches against Scotland and England (both as a substitute). In the lost quarterfinal match, Cocu was in the starting line-up for the first time. At the 1998 World Cup in France, Cocu was also on the team.

The Dutch team reached the semi-finals against


, where they were knocked out after penalty kicks, as in 1996. This time, Cocu did take a penalty kick. But it was Claudio Taffarel who stopped him from scoring. At the

World Cup

, Cocu went on to score twice (against South Korea and Mexico). He also played at the European Championships in 2000 and 2004, where the Dutch team made it to the semifinals on both occasions.

The Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. His final international tournament with the Dutch team was the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where the team was eliminated in the eighth-finals by Portugal. Cocu stopped playing as an international after this World Cup.

He played a total of 101 international matches. This ranks him eighth in the Netherlands, after Wesley Sneijder, Edwin van der Sar, Frank de Boer, Rafael van der Vaart, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Dirk Kuyt and Robin van Persie. During his international career, he scored ten goals and received two red cards. Cocu was also the captain several times until Van der Sar became the permanent captain in 2004.

Phillip Cocu Profile

Following his active career, Cocu attended the Coach Professional Football course. He also went on an internship with the Dutch national team and started as a youth coach at PSV, where he stepped onto the field as a coach for the first time on 21 June 2008. On 2 February 2009, his role as youth coach was changed into a position as assistant coach of the main squad for the rest of the then-current season, by mutual consent.

Cocu could sign for a longer period, but he decided not to do so. He wanted to be part of the Dutch national team until at least 2012, and he felt that both jobs could not be mixed. However, Cocu stayed on as a part-time member of PSV's technical staff in 2009/10. As with the previous season, he did not take his place on the bench on matchdays but was still available for tactical and individual training sessions. He also travelled to PSV's first training camp in Oisterwijk in preparation for the season.

Following the sacking of VVV-Venlo's trainer Jan van Dijk, Cocu was contacted in December 2010 by chairman Hai Berden. Having declined the offer, Cocu stayed with PSV and the Dutch national team, renewing his contract with PSV from August 2011 until the summer of 2013, and joined the Eindhoven club as interim head coach on 12 March 2012 after the dismissal of Fred Rutten by PSV.

He teamed up with Ernest Faber and Chris van der Weerden, both of whom he knew from his playing career. The first game under his guidance was in the Europa League. They drew 1-1 against the Spanish team Valencia CF. During the first league match under his management sc Heerenveen was defeated 5-1.

It was on 8 April 2012, 27 days after his appointment as interim coach, when Cocu won the KNVB Cup with PSV by defeating Heracles Almelo 3-0 in the final. Following the 2012 European Championship, Dick Advocaat was named head coach of PSV for one year, bringing Cocu back to the position of assistant coach.

However, the former midfielder had already expressed that he did not immediately want to continue as head coach, but wanted to gain more experience first. Subsequently, PSV decided to make him head coach of the reserve team. With this team, he won the cup in the final against Feyenoord reserves.

Stay tuned as we are going to share some information about his coaching career at PSV in this section of Phillip Cocu biography.

Head coach at PSV

During the 2012/2013 season, under Advocaat, PSV came second in the league and lost the cup final to AZ. Following Advocaat's announcement that he would not be continuing his stay at PSV, Cocu was appointed head coach on 1 July 2013, rejoining Ernest Faber and Chris van der Weerden, as he had done in the previous period.

He added Guus Hiddink, on a part-time basis, to the technical staff later on that season. In late March 2014, Cocu was forced to temporarily step down from the head coach position following the removal of a tumor from his back. Subsequently, his assistant Faber took over Cocu's role as head coach until the end of the current season.

PSV's first season of playing under Cocu finished in fourth place in the 2013/2014 league table. It was until the last matchday before the club was confident of participating in European soccer, having been in ninth place halfway through the competition. Still, PSV kicked off the 2014/15 Eredivisie season with virtually the same squad, with Luuk de Jong in place of the sold Matavž and Andrés Guardado coming in for the Park.

This time around, the club took the lead on the second day of the competition and never gave it up for the rest of the season. The club achieved a record of 88 points. With a 4-1 victory at home against sc Heerenveen on matchday 31, the 22nd national championship in club history and Cocu's first as a head coach became official. Less than a month later, Cocu himself was voted Coach of the Year.

On September 15, 2015, Cocu made his UEFA Champions League debut in the main tournament as head coach. On that particular day, he defeated

Manchester United

2-1 at home with PSV. This turned out to be the beginning of a campaign in which PSV reached the Round of 16 of the Champions League after six group matches. Under Cocu, PSV was the first Dutch club to achieve this since the PSV of the 2006/07 season, in which Cocu himself still played.

In the 2015/16 season, for the second year in a row under Cocu, PSV earned more than eighty points (84). In doing so, they were the first Dutch club to achieve this since PSV themselves last did so in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons (with Cocu as a player). As they did then, PSV thus became national champions for the second time in a row in 2015/16. This time around, the decision fell on the final matchday of the season.

The team started round 34 with as many points as Ajax, but with a goal difference that was six goals less. PSV subsequently won 1-3 away at

PEC Zwolle

that day, whereas Ajax drew 1-1 away at De Graafschap. On April 15, 2018, Cocu won his third championship as a coach with PSV. A 3-0 victory at home against second-placed Ajax meant that after 31 rounds of games, the team was no longer catchable by the competition.

This made Cocu the third ever to win the league title three (or more) times as PSV coach after Kees Rijvers (also three times) and Guus Hiddink (six times). In May 2018, Cocu was chosen Coach of the Year for the second time. He was thus the fourth coach to win the Rinus Michels Award for the second time, after Guus Hiddink, Louis van Gaal and Frank de Boer, respectively.


In June 2018, Cocu penned a three-year contract at


. Meanwhile, Chris van der Weerden followed Cocu to the Istanbul-based team as an assistant. Erwin Koeman reinforced his technical staff in August. He was dismissed by the management on 28 October 2018, because of poor results

It was the worst ranking in the Süper Lig's 61-year history and elimination in the preliminary round of the Champions League versus SL


and the struggling performance in the Europa League. In 15 official matches, Cocu had just three wins, five draws and seven defeats

Derby County

In the summer of 2019, Cocu went on to become the first-ever foreign coach of


County, then playing in the Championship. Both Chris van der Weerden and Twan Scheepers went on as assistants, then in November 2019, Wayne Rooney was added to the technical staff as player-coach. Because of disappointing results, Cocu was fired on 14 November 2020.

Style of Play

A very versatile player, he has played different roles: left-wing, midfielder, halfback, left-back and second striker. However, his main position was a central midfielder, where he excelled thanks to his great leadership, versatility, vision and passing skills.

As a coach, his favourite and most used system of play is 4-2-3-1, especially during his last two spells at Fenerbahce and Derby County. At PSV, he mostly played with 4-3-3 Attacking.


During his playing time, he was considered one of the best midfielders of his generation, a reputation that he achieved by many years of playing at Barcelona and PSV and also the Netherlands national team. After retiring from playing football, he managed to establish himself as one of the great Dutch coaches during his spell with PSV, winning many titles and awards, however, in his later spells he failed to achieve positive results and is currently unemployed.

Phillip Cocu outside Football

Cocu is known as a clever entrepreneur. Having made several millions in the Middle East in the latter days of his career, he became the CEO of Voetbalzaken.nl, a company he started together with Kenneth Goudmijn and Mark Snijders. He purchased a stately mansion on the Sint Catharinastraat in Eindhoven for 835 thousand euros in 2013.

Phillip Cocu Personal Life

In this section of Phillip Cocu biography, we will take a look at his personal life and share some stories of

Phillip Cocu life story


Phillip Cocu religion

. Stay tuned.

Family, Children, and Relationships

Dorien Leurs is the wife of Phillip Cocu. For a long time, there was silence around the love life of former PSV coach Phillip Cocu. After divorcing his wife Karin in 2010, who turned out to have cheated on him with a teacher from Giessen, he found happiness again with Dorien Leurs.

Together with his wife, the former footballer had his first child in the spring of 2016. It was the fourth child for Cocu, who had three sons with Karin. In day-to-day life, Leurs is the manager of singer Guus Meeuwis. This led to some wild speculation when the relationship of the singer from Brabant ended. There was some rumour that Dorien had played a role in this, but this was denied with the message that Dorien Leurs has been together with Cocu for several years and is expecting a child with him.


As one of the star players of his generation, we have seen him appear in many charity matches to help raise funds for charitable causes.

Legal Issues

There are not any reports of legal issues or disputes about former Dutch footballer and current coach on media.

Phillip Cocu Career Statistics

In this section of Phillip Cocu biography, we will take a look at his career stats both on the club and international level.


In a 20-year playing career between 1988 and 2008, Phillip Cocu played a total of 773 matches in many clubs and scored 151 goals. Between 1998 and 2004, he played the most part of his career with 291 matches for Barcelona.


Phillip Cocu was part of the Dutch national team for ten years, in which he played 101 matches, scored 10 goals and participated in many tournaments.


Cocu has a 56.73 percent win ratio during his coaching career, which he has achieved with 177 wins, 60 draws and 75 defeats in a total of 312 matches.

Phillip Cocu Honors

As a player, his awards and titles include Eredivisie, KNVB Cup and Johan Cruyff Shield with PSV, La Liga with Barcelona and Gulf Club Champions Cup with Al Jazira.

He has also won Eredivisie, KNVB Cup and Johan Cruyff Shield with PSV as a coach on several occasions. During his spell as manager of PSV, he won the Dutch Coach of the Year award on two occasions.

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