John Heitinga Biography

Sat 06 November 2021 | 14:30

Although he retired very early from playing football, he was able to establish himself as one of the best defenders in the history of Dutch football. In this article, we will take a look at John Heitinga biography.

John Heitinga, born 15 November 1983 in Alphen aan den Rijn is a Dutch retired footballer who used to play as a centre-back or right-back for many clubs during his career. As a child, Heitinga went to the famous football academy of Ajax Amsterdam. At the age of 18, he joined the first team.

Heitinga's debut in the Eredivisie took place on 26 August 2001. Then Heitinga played more and more and eventually finished the 2001-2002 season with 15 appearances and his first career Eredivisie championship.

However, the following season Heitinga suffered a serious injury, which resulted in only 1 appearance in the Eredivisie. During the 2003-2004 season, however, he was the leading figure in the middle of defence at Ajax, with 26 games and 3 goals. Together with Ajax, he won his second and so far last league title. He was Dutch vice-champion in 2005 and 2007 and won the Dutch Cup.

Heitinga moved to

Atlético Madrid

in the summer of 2008 for €10 million. During the summer of 2009, on the final day of the transfer window, Johnny moved from Atletico Madrid to


for €6 million, having signed a 5-year contract with the team from Goodison Park.

He became a Fulham player on 31 January 2014, on a free transfer. Then in June 2014, he arrived at Bundesliga team Hertha Berlin. It was on 25 June 2015 that he rejoined Ajax Amsterdam after 7 years, signing a one-year contract.

Heitinga debuted for the Dutch national team during Dick Advocaat's tenure. This was on 18 February 2004 in the 1-0 win by the Netherlands against the USA. That good season of Heitinga was fully recognised by the manager and Heitinga then played with the Netherlands at Euro 2004, which saw them progress to the semi-finals, only to lose to Portugal.

All You Need to Know About John Heitinga Biography

Heitinga's hopes of winning a World Cup medal at the 2006 World Cup in Germany were high under then Dutch manager Marco van Basten, but the Netherlands failed to reach the quarter-finals after losing to Portugal. In the 2010 World Cup, he finished runners-up.

John Heitinga Information

Now that we know the Dutch footballer much better, in this section of

John Heitinga biography

we will share more general information about him such as

John Heitinga nationality

to let you know him even better.

John Heitinga Bio

  • Full Name: John Gijsbert Alan Heitinga

  • Nickname: Johnny

  • Profession: Professional Footballer

John Heitinga Physical Stats

  • Weight: 75 Kg

  • Height: 1.8 m

  • Eye Color: Blue

  • Hair Color: Light Brown

John Heitinga Football Information

  • Position: Defender

  • Jersey Number: 5

  • Professional Debut: 2001

John Heitinga Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 15 November 1983

  • Birth Place: Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands

  • Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

  • Nationality: Dutch

Now stay tuned to this section of

John Heitinga biography

as we want to share some info about

John Heitinga childhood


John Heitinga Early Life

On 26 August 2001, Heitinga played his professional first match for


against Feyenoord. The match was won by Ajax 2-1. Heitinga scored his first goal on 9 November 2003 against

ADO Den Haag

. In this game, he was sent off with a red card.

Heitinga played only once for Ajax in the 2002/2003 season as a result of an injury. In the following seasons, Heitinga proved to be a key player in the Ajax defence. Together with experienced man-marker Jaap Stam, Heitinga's performance improved.

With Stam's help, Heitinga was able to work on his body in order to achieve more wins on the defensive side. While Heitinga was originally placed at right-back because of Stam's arrival, he was soon obliged to play in the centre after the start of the 07/08 season when Stam ended his career.

John Heitinga Profile

With Ajax finishing second, three points behind PSV, Heitinga nevertheless won the Dutch Player of the Year award for that season. Now stay tuned to this section of John Heitinga biography as we want to share some info about his La Liga career.

Atlético Madrid

It was revealed on 25 March 2008 that Heitinga would be switching to Atlético Madrid for 10 million euros. His official debut with Atlético de Madrid happened on 13 August 2008 in the

Champions League

qualifiers against Schalke 04. His first official league goal for Atlético de Madrid came on 30 September 2008 in the first league matchday against Málaga at the Vicente Calderón stadium.

During his time with the Madrid club, the famous Dutch defender played 37 games in all competitions for Atletico Madrid, scoring 3 goals and giving 1 assist to his teammates.


Heitinga played for Everton FC in England as of August 2009. He played his debut for the club against

Fulham FC

on 13 September 2009. He was voted player of the year by the supporters at the end of the 2011-2012 season. However, during the 2013/14 season, Heitinga was not in Everton's plans.

It was not until the 21st match round, on 11 January 2014, that he played his first minutes of the 2013/14 season in the Premier League, as he stepped up to replace Leon Osman in the 69th minute in the 2-0 home game against

Norwich City


During his spell with the Toffees, Heitinga made a total of 140 appearances in all competitions, scoring 5 times and giving the same amount of assists to his teammates.


It was on 31 January 2014, just before the end of the winter transfer window, that Heitinga officially signed a contract with Fulham FC, where he would play for the rest of the season. With Fulham, he joined former teammate Maarten Stekelenburg, and other players.

On 9 February 2014, Heitinga went on to make his official debut for Fulham in the Premier League away match at

Manchester United

that ended 2-2 in which Heitinga played the entire match.

For Fulham, Heitinga scored his first official goal on 1 March 2014 in the Premier League home game against Chelsea FC when Heitinga scored the only goal for Fulham after being 3-0 down. It was announced by Fulham on 23 May 2014 that Heitinga's expiring contract would not be extended.

At Fulham, John Heitinga was able to play only 14 matches in all competitions, scoring just one goal and providing one assist to his teammates. Now stay tuned to this section of

John Heitinga biography

as we want to share some info about his career in Bundesliga.

Hertha BSC

It was revealed on 4 June 2014 that Heitinga and

Hertha BSC

agreed on a contract for two seasons, with an option for another year. The transfer was finalised on 23 June 2014 and Heitinga officially penned his contract. It was on 16 August 2014 that Heitinga marked his official debut for Hertha BSC in a cup match against SV Victoria 1911 Köln. The match was won 4-2.

Heitinga scored his first official goal for Hertha on 25 October 2014. It was a 3-0 win in a


match at home against Hamburger SV. On many occasions, Heitinga was forced to settle for a place on the substitute bench or in the stands. After the completion of his first season, Heitinga was permitted to leave Hertha already. His old club Ajax stated in early June 2015 that they would like to bring Heitinga back to Amsterdam.

With the German club, John Heitinga played a total of 14 games and managed to score just one goal for the club in Bundesliga.

Return to Ajax

In June 2015, Heitinga made his return to Ajax. He signed a contract up to 30 June 2016 with an option for another season. At the beginning of the league, De Boer decided on Joël Veltman and Jaïro Riedewald as the central duo, which meant Heitinga had to be content with a spot on the bench.

To build up match fitness, he played with Jong Ajax in the Jupiler League home match against

FC Eindhoven

(0 - 0) on 24 August 2015, making his return to Ajax after seven years in the KNVB Cup match against De Graafschap on 23 September 2015.

Heitinga entered the field ten minutes before time for Riechedly Bazoer. A few minutes after coming on, he accidentally got the ball on his head during a corner kick, resulting in the 2-0 score. His comeback in the Eredivisie came during the 11th match on 31 October 2015 in Ajax's home game against Roda JC (6-0 win).

After an hour of play, Heitinga replaced Nemanja Gudelj. In the first half of the season, Heitinga was hardly given any playing time by De Boer. In addition, he was often left out of the match-day squad by De Boer. In the process, De Boer stated that Heitinga had sacrificed more speed than he had anticipated and would thus not be at his best in Ajax's system with plenty of space in the back.

In part due to the disappointing return to Ajax, Heitinga made the decision to put an end to his professional football career in early February 2016. At this time, both Ajax and Heitinga had expressed the desire to enter into a new agreement as coach of both the youth, Jong Ajax and A-selection in the near future.

Now stay tuned to this section of John Heitinga biography as we want to share some info about his national team career.

Dutch National Team



debut was made on 18 February 2004, against the United States. He scored his first international goal months later against Greece after a free-kick from Rafael van der Vaart. While he was not involved in the qualifiers, he was named in the squad for Euro 2004 in Portugal.

In the first two matches, he started at right-back but received two yellow cards and was sent off in the third match. Having served his suspension, he came back in the quarter-final against Sweden as a replacement for Edgar Davids and scored a penalty in the shoot-out that ended 5-4 in favour of the Dutch. However, Portugal went on to eliminate the Dutch team in the semi-finals.

In spite of some physical problems, Heitinga never lost his place in the national team even when Marco van Basten was appointed coach in 2004. Towards the end of 2005, Heitinga again became a key player in the Ajax squad.

Van Basten included him in the final 23-man squad to participate in the 2006 World Cup, hosted by Germany. The Netherlands performed well and advanced to the next round, but were knocked out by Portugal. He was also included in the squad for Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland.

In 2010, he was one of 23 players chosen to represent his national team at the World Cup in South Africa. He started all seven of the Netherlands' matches at the World Cup. He was sent off in the final for a double yellow card in the second half of extra time against Spain. Following his sending off, Andrés Iniesta scored for Spain in the 116th minute.

John Heitinga has played in a total of 87 matches for the national team as a central defender or right-back and scored 7 goals.

Coaching Career

After hanging up his boots, he became the assistant coach to Marcel Keizer at Jong Ajax in 2016-2017. Since 2017 he has been coaching the Under-19 team of the Lancers and was able to win the league two years later. He managed the Under-17 team for two matches in October 2017. Having managed the Under 18 in 2020-2021, he transferred to the Under 23 in August 2021.

Style of Play

John Heitinga’s physical strength, his sense of positioning and anticipation, his precision and his ability to win one-on-one situations make him one of the best Dutch defenders of his generation. He was quick and powerful, with great movement, and he also improved in his ability to get back into the game.

Although he is a defender, he can score decisive goals, such as mid-range and headers. His position is right-back, although he also plays as a centre-back.


According to many football pundits and fans, John Heitinga is simply one of the best defenders in the history of the Dutch, as he managed to achieve many things in football. He has won many awards with Ajax, was named Dutch Footballer of the Year, played in three major football countries, took part in five final tournaments, and with 87 caps and 7,031 playing minutes, he is in the top ten of Dutch players with the most international matches.

John Heitinga outside Football

During an interview with a Dutch magazine, John Heitinga had stated that following his retirement from playing football, he and her family had to change their lifestyle somehow, for example, he had to sell his Ferrari car and the family no longer used private jets, as he was not earning millions like when he was playing football.

John Heitinga Personal Life

In this section of John Heitinga biography, we will take a deeper look into his personal life and share some information about things like

John Heitinga life story


John Heitinga religion

, stay tuned.

Family, Children and Relationships

Heitinga has been involved with Charlotte-Sophie Zenden, the sister of footballer Boudewijn Zenden, since 2004. The couple married under Dutch law on 18 May 2010 in a garden in Maastricht. On 14, 15 and 16 July 2010 Heitinga and Zenden celebrated their wedding for three days on the Spanish island of Ibiza.

Johnny has three children together with his wife. Their first daughter Jezebel was born in 2009, then in July 2011 their son, Lennox was born. Then in August 2019, his wife gave birth to their second daughter Rixo.


Currently, there are no reports of any charity activities regarding the famous Dutch defender either in the Dutch or English media.

Legal Issues

At the time of writing this article, there are not any reports of legal issues or disputes to his name in the English or Dutch media.

John Heitinga Career Statistics

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


From the start of his career in 2001 with Ajax, until his retirement with the same club in 2016, John Heitinga managed to play a total of 423 games in all competitions, scoring 35 goals. With 218 matches played, he had spent the majority of his career at Ajax.


In 9 years of playing football for the Dutch national football team, John Heitinga represented his country on no less than 87 occasions, scoring 7 goals. He scored his last international goal in the Euro 2012 qualification match against San Marino on 2 September 2011.

John Heitinga Honors

Heitinga has many awards and titles during his playing days, including the Eredivisie (2 times), KNVB Cup (3 times) and the Johan Cruyff Shield (4 times). He also finished runner-ups in the 2010 World Cup with the Dutch national team.

He has also many personal awards and titles to his name, including the Amsterdam Sportsman of the Year, Ajax Talent of the Future, Dutch Football Talent of the Year, Dutch Footballer of the Year and the Everton Player of the Season.

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source: SportMob

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