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Image associated to news article on:  FRANK RIJKAARD

FRANK RIJKAARD

Franklin Edmundo Rijkaard, born on September 30, 1962 in Amsterdam, has been the first team coach at FC Barcelona since the start of the 2003-04 season.

The Blaugrana trainer employs an attack-minded strategy to the team, with the mark of the Dutch style, with the emphasis placed heavily of applying pressure and using the wings. He has also not forgotten the role of a tight defence instilled in him during his spell as a player with AC Milan, where he spent five seasons.

During Rijkaard's first season at Barša, the team had an outstanding second half to the campaign as they finished in second place and qualified for the Champions League. That was the first sign that the team had entered a new phase under the Dutchman. The following year Barcelona confirmed themselves as the best team in Spain as they eased to the league title.

In 2005-06, the team went one step further as Rijkaard guided Barša to the league title, again, and also won the Champions League and the Spanish Super Cup. By winning the European Cup in Paris, Rijkaard became only the fifth person to win the trophy both as a player and a coach, joining Johan Cruyff, Carlo Ancelotti, Miguel Mu˝oz and Giovanni Trappatoni, who have all achieved the feat.

As well as the trophy haul, Barša's performances under Rijkaard have seen them rediscover and identity and style that has seen the club rejoin the elite of the game, at both national and international level.

He started his managerial career in the 1998 World Cup as assistant to Guus Hiddink in the Dutch national squad. He took over as Dutch manager between 1998 and 2000 and then moved to Dutch league side Sparta de Rotterdam for the 2001-02 season. At FC Barcelona he will be assisted by fellow countryman Henk Ten Cate, formerly manager of Dutch side Nac Breda.

Rijkaard had an outstanding playing career. He was a product of the inexhaustible supply of young talent developed by Ajax and played for the Amsterdam club between 1980 and 1988. In 87-88 season he also spent a few months in the Spanish league with Real Zaragoza, where he played 11 games. His greatest years were spent at AC Milan from 1988 until 1993. He finished off his playing career at Ajax between 1993 and 1995.

As a player, he won a European Nations Cup medal (1988, with Holland), three European Cup medals (88-89, 89-90 and 94-95), a Cup Winners Cup medal (86-87), three European Super Cup medals (1989, 1990 and 1995), two Intercontinental Cup medals (1989, 1990), five Dutch league medals (81-82, 82-83, 84-85, 93-94 and 94-95), two Italian league medals (91-92 and 92-93), two Italian super Cup medals (1989 and 1994) and three Dutch Cup medals (82-83, 85-86 and 86-87).

He was voted best player in the Italian league in 1992. He played 337 matches with Ajax, 201 with AC Milan and was capped 73 times for Holland.


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