Ruud Gullit (born September 1, 1962) was christened Ruud Dil, but changed his name to the more sensible ‘Gullit’. He was one of the outstanding footballers of the eighties and nineties, able to play in almost any position.
Like Matthew Le Tissier, he was renowned for his spectacular goals, but unlike Le Tissier, he ran about a lot. He turned his hand to roles in midfield, as sweeper, and famously became Holland’s goalkeeper at the 1998 World Cup when Edwin van der Sar refused to play because he was ‘feeling down in the dumps’.
As well as being an exceptional footballer in his day, Gullit is tall, charismatic and good-looking, used to sing in a band, had dreadlocks for ages, and most likely has a big cock.
The Holland Years: Honours And DishonoursEdit
Looking like a cross between a reggae icon and a porn star, Gullit led the Netherlands to their only major honour, the 1988 European Championships, having formed a lethal partnership with Marco van Basten.
However, in this period the Dutch – with perhaps the most naturally gifted crop of players anywhere in Europe – ingeniously avoided winning many more trophies with an incredible series of feuds, petulant displays and perverse behaviour, which led to them finishing most major tournaments with up to 75% of their squad sent home for bad behaviour.
Notable instances of the Dutch players behaving like absolute dicks at major tournaments include Frank Rijkaard spitting at Germany’s Rudi Voeller; Ronald Koeman pretending to wipe his arse on Olaf Thon’s Germany shirt, after swapping shirts at the end of the game; Patrick Kluivert drink-driving; players’ rebellions against managers Dick Advocaat and Marco van Basten; and the well-publicised spat between Ruud van Nistelrooy and everyone else in Holland.
However, there have been many other less well-documented incidents:
- As Gullit was about to score against the Republic of Ireland in 1988, Ronald de Boer sneaked up behind him and pulled his shorts down, later claiming it was retaliation for Gullit stealing the apple from his packed lunch on the team bus.
- During their 1990 World Cup match with Egypt, none of the Dutch players were on speaking terms and they refused to wear matching shirts, instead taking the field in eleven different outfits.
- Needing a 1-0 win to qualify from their group in Euro 92, the Dutch drew 0-0 with Sweden after arguing for 78 minutes over who would take a corner.
- Before meeting Russia at Euro 2008, Wesley Schneijder bought 800 tonnes of explosives and attempted to blow up the Central Bank of Vienna. He explained that he ‘didn’t like the way van Basten speaks to his players’. The plot was foiled when he got caught up in an argument with the bus driver about the best route to the bank, and had his bag confiscated by police.
Because of the side’s history of pointless bickering, Gullit was deprived of the silverware he might have enjoyed. However, he finished his career with many accolades, including a friendship with Nelson Mandela, to whom Gullit had dedicated his Ballon D’Or for World Player Of The Year. This was in the period when Mandela was taking a keen interest in sport and the 1995 Rugby World Cup had been rigged in his honour.
Gullit became a TV pundit and accidentally coined the awful term ‘sexy football’ when discussing Portugal. It was a casual remark but, thanks to the BBC’s way of harping on about things, briefly became one of the most tedious catchphrases in sports punditry.
- Main article: Sexy Football
Gullit has also tried being a manager, but was bad at it.
Like most people alive, he was at one time the boss of Newcastle United. However, he became unpopular with fans, and soon left.
More recently he had a spell as coach of LA Galaxy in America’s irrelevant MLS, but this was also unsuccessful. He looks likely to join the ranks of great players who were shit managers, which also includes Sir Bobby Charlton, John Barnes and Peter Shilton. This should not be confused with the more select category of players who were bad at playing and managing, such as John Gorman.