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27.06.2007 17:11

Barça not going Dutch this year?

Sergi Nogueras / David Saura

Now Gio van Bronckhorst has left, there is not one player from the Netherlands in the Barça first team squad, the first time that has happened since Bobby Robson was in charge back in 1996/97.

FC Barcelona’s love affair with Dutch football began in 1973/74 and the arrival of Johan Cruyff. Total football matched the club’s philosophy to perfection and from the mid seventies onwards, a constant train of Hollanders would pass by the Camp Nou.

A quick glance at the history books shows that whenever Barça have had Dutch players in the squad, these times have usually also brought fruit in the form of championships. Johan Cruyff was the first example, breaking Barça’s long league duck with a win in the 1973/74 season that will always be remembered for the famous 5-0 win at the Bernabéu. Neeskens, now assistant manager at Barça, continued the tradition with his involvement in the historic Cup Winners Cup win in Basle.

Into the 1990s

Danny Muller was the only Dutch player to appear on the Barça books before Johan Cruyff returned in the 90s to take over as manager and brought in Ronald Koeman, the defender who formed a key role in his Dream Team, and scored the winner at Wembley to claim the club’s first European Cup. Also in the team those days were Richard Witschge, and the manager’s own son Jordi, who was at Barça between 1993 and 1996.

Jordi Cruyff (born in Barcelona but an international for Holland) was the last of that Dutch generation, and 1996/97, under Bobby Robson, was a Dutch-free year for Barcelona.

Van Gaal and then Ajax school

The combination of Dutch manager Van Gaal’s arrival and new Bosman ruling led to a huge influx of Dutch talent in the late nineties, mainly products of the Ajax youth system, which had produced a European Cup winning team in 1995. The Dutch revolution included the likes of Reiziger, Bogarde, Kluivert and the De Boer brothers.

The most expensive signing in Barça history, Marc Overmars, was the first post-Van Gaal Dutch signing, and from there on, although Dutch players have always been around, their presence has been less felt. Davids and Van Bommel came and went, as eventually this week did Gio van Bronckhorst too. But with a Dutch duo still at the helm of the club in Frank Rijkaard and Johan Neeskens, nobody doubts that it won’t be long before we’ll be welcoming yet another of the country’s extraordinary stream of talent into the club.
Barça not going Dutch this year?
All the Dutch players
Johan Cruyff 1973-1978
Johan Neeskens 1974-1979
Danny Muller 1988
Ronald Koeman 1989-1995
Richard Witschge 1991-1993
Jordi Cruyff 1993-1996
Michael Reiziger 1997-2004
Ruud Hesp 1997-2000
Winston Bogarde 1997-2000
Bowdejwin Zenden 1998-2001
Philippe Cocu 1998-2004
Patrick Kluivert 1998-2004
Ronald de Boer 1999-2000
Frank de Boer 1999-2003
Marc Overmars 2000-2004
Gio van Bronckhorst 2003-2007
Edgard Davids 2004
Mark van Bommel 2005-2006

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