The Oranje are now Blancos
Since the 1970’s, Dutch football has had a strong connection to FC Barcelona. Not only with the large number of players from the country, but also with the coaches too, but now Real Madrid has taken over.
Since Gio van Bronckhorst left Barça to join Feyenoord two years ago, there have been no more
players from the Netherlands at the club and Frank Rijkaard’s exit in the summer saw all
links with the country come finish.
Moving to Madrid
In fact, as Barcelona were seeing their Dutch stars leave, as many were signing on at the
Bernabéu. Two years ago Ruud van Nistelrooy joined from Manchester United and last term Royston
Drenthe, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben followed him. The last signing, until Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
moves officially in January, was Rafael Van der Vaart.
Since Marinus Michels took over as coach in 1972, Dutch football and the Blaugrana have been
inextricably linked. Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens joined in 1973 and 1974 respectively. The trio
stayed a number of years with Michels and Cruyff leaving in 1978 and Neeskens going in 1979, to
leave Barça with no representatives from the Netherlands.
Cruyff, Koeman and Witschge
That changed almost ten years later when Cruyff returned as coach in 1988
and Ronald Koeman moved to the club to boslter the defence and add some oranje to the squad once
again. In 1992 Richard Witschge made it three when he moved to Barcelona to join the Blaugrana.
When Louis van Gaal became the coach the number of Dutch
players at the club increased and in the 1998-99 campaign no less than eight players in the squad
were from the Netherlands. Winston Bogarde, Philip Cocu, Frank and Ronald De Boer, Ruud Hesp,
Patrick Kluivert, Michael Reiziger and Boudewijn Zenden.
Since then four more have worn the famous Barça colours with Marc Overmars (2000-2004), Gio
Van Bronkhorst (2003-2007), Edgar Davids (2204) and Mark van Bommel (2005/06) all playing for the