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Ruud Gullit Biography

How marvelous and amazing should a footballer be to be ranked among the top 100 of the best football players and the top 125 of the living ones? As good as Pele, Maradona and Ruud Gullit. Since the first two are unfortunately deceased and we have already prepared articles about them, it’s time to talk about Ruud Gullit Biography.

Rudi Dil played for various teams in his career, but the most notable ones were AC Milan and PSV. This was in the late 80s and early 90s when people saw a new style of play. Ruud soon became famous for his extreme versatility, a player who could play anywhere on the field! He was a forward and a midfielder when the team needed offensive force and a defender when it was time for defense. This one-man army was everything a coach could’ve asked for. And better than that, he played each position flawlessly! If you haven’t watched his games, don’t worry as we will soon describe how he played in the field.

The Footbalium Version of Ruud Gullit Biography


In this article on Ruud Gullit Biography, we will look at his life story and explore every dark corner of it. So stay with us in this Footbalium-infused journey.

Ruud Gullit Information

Credit: Pinterest football culture

For those who are less familiar with this legendary player, here are a few lines of Ruud Gullit stats, so you can catch up with the rest of our audience.

  • Ruud Gullit Real Name: Rudi Dil
  • Nickname: Ruud Gullit
  • Profession: Former Footballer

Physical Stats

  • Height: 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
  • Eye Color: Dark Brown
  • Hair Color: Dark Brown
  • Weight: 88 kg

Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 1 September 1962
  • Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Nationality: Dutch

Football Information

  • Position: Forward, midfielder, defender
  • Professional Debut: 19 August 1979
  • Jersey Number: 4

Now let us move into the article and talk about the early stages of Ruud Gullit life story.

Ruud Gullit Early Life


Gullit was born in Amsterdam as Rudi Dil to Dutch mistress Ria Dil from the Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam and George Gullit, a Surinamese who came to the Netherlands with Herman Rijkaard (the father of Frank Rijkaard). The Gullit family resided on the top floor of a modest apartment complex in a single split-level room. Gullit’s mother worked as a custodian at the Rijksmuseum, while his father taught economics at a nearby school.

Street football played a significant role in Gullit’s early development as he honed his football talents in the Rozendwarsstraat. The Meerboys were Gullit’s first team, which he joined in 1970 as a youth. Gullit, however, relocated from the Jordaan to Amsterdam Old West when he was ten years old, where he played street football with Frank Rijkaard. After his relocation, Gullit joined the DWS club and caught the eye of the Dutch youth team, where he played alongside colleagues who would go on to represent their country at the full international level, Erwin Koeman, Ronald Koeman, and Wim Kieft.

Gullit started using his father’s surname instead of his registered surname when he was a student at DWS because he thought it sounded more like a football player.

Ruud Gullit Profile


As a player, he achieved success with notable clubs like Feyenoord, PSV, AC Milan, and Sampdoria, earning domestic titles and European trophies. Gullit’s international impact was highlighted by his pivotal role in the Netherlands’ UEFA European Championship victory in 1988. He garnered numerous individual awards, including the Ballon d’Or, World Soccer Magazine World Footballer of the Year, and a place in the FIFA XI.

Transitioning to management, Gullit guided Chelsea to an FA Cup triumph during the 1996-97 season. His legacy was solidified with inductions into the AC Milan Hall of Fame and the Italian Football Hall of Fame, cementing his enduring influence on the sport. Gullit’s dynamic abilities on the field, coupled with his success as a manager, make him a true icon in football history.

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Football Career


When Ruud Gullit joined HFC Haarlem in 1978, his soccer career officially got underway. He went on to make an incredible 91 appearances and score 32 goals. Gullit made his Eredivisie debut at the age of 16, making him the league’s youngest player ever. He joined Feyenoord in 1982, where he played alongside Johan Cruyff and developed from a sweeper to a dynamic midfielder. Gullit was awarded Dutch Footballer of the Year and helped Feyenoord win league and cup titles in spite of racial insults.

Gullit excelled at PSV after his 1985 transfer, helping the team win two Eredivisie championships. Top European clubs were interested in him because of his unique appearance and abilities. Gullit joined A.C. Milan in 1987 for a then-record-breaking sum, playing with fellow Dutch superstars like Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten. Milan experienced domestic and international success under coach Arrigo Sacchi, including back-to-back European Cup victories. Gullit was loaned to Sampdoria due to difficulties including injuries and tactical changes, yet his influence on soccer history endures.

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Late Career


Ruud Gullit moved to Sampdoria in 1993, helping them win the Coppa Italia that year and scoring the game-winning goal against Milan. In 1994, he briefly went back to Milan, but later joined Sampdoria again, where he scored 15 goals. Gullit’s time at Sampdoria was distinguished by mutual understanding and success while playing for the club managed by future England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson.

Gullit moved to Chelsea in July 1995 on a free transfer, but under manager Glenn Hoddle, he struggled at first as a sweeper. He did well, though, when he was moved to midfield, scoring six goals. Despite finishing 11th in the Premier League, his arrival, along with that of Mark Hughes and Dan Petrescu, drove Chelsea to the FA Cup semifinals.

Despite early difficulties, Gullit rapidly adapted to Chelsea’s playing style and eventually finished as Eric Cantona’s runner-up for Footballer of the Year. Gullit frequently praised his time at Chelsea and regarded it as the part of his career that he most loved. His transfer to Chelsea was a key factor in the “foreign revolution,” which saw foreign superstars like Gianfranco Zola and Dennis Bergkamp join Chelsea and Arsenal, respectively, and boost the teams’ international stature.

International Career


Ruud Gullit made his debut for the Netherlands in 1981, but early in his career, the squad suffered setbacks by missing out on important competitions like the 1982 FIFA World Cup and the 1984 UEFA Euro. The Dutch failed to qualify for the World Cup once more in 1985, this time against Belgium in a playoff.

Gullit played a crucial role in the Netherlands’ victory at Euro 1988 while playing for Rinus Michels as coach. The team battled through a rocky beginning to defeat England and the Republic of Ireland and advance to the semifinals. A 2-1 triumph over West Germany qualified them for the final against the Soviet Union. Gullit became the first Dutch captain to win an international trophy after scoring a header and a volley from Marco van Basten to secure a 2-0 victory.

The Netherlands had great hopes for the 1990 World Cup, but their performance was hampered by internal problems and Gullit’s knee ailments. Despite making it to the second round, they were defeated by West Germany, crushing their aspirations.

Gullit demonstrated his talent during Euro 1992, assisting goals against Scotland, tying with Russia, and beating Germany. However, the eventual champions, Denmark, shocked everyone by defeating the Netherlands in a penalty shootout.

1993 was a turning point after disagreements with manager Dick Advocaat. A disagreement resulted from Gullit’s starting position on the right side of midfield versus England and his subsequent substitution. Gullit briefly joined the national squad again in 1994, however, he left the pre-World Cup training camp, ending his time playing for his country.

Gullit and Advocaat acknowledged their respective roles in the quarrel that put a stop to Gullit’s famous worldwide voyage in 2013, admitting their culpability and regret in the matter.

Read More: Johan Cruyff Biography

Ruud Gullit’s Playing Style


Ruud Gullit, with his adaptability and mobility in a variety of positions, personified the spirit of Total Football. He was a versatile player who effortlessly made contributions on offense and defense while also displaying his strong work ethic, tactical knowledge, and ball-winning abilities in addition to his physical strength. Gullit’s versatility allowed him to succeed anywhere in the midfield, along the front line, on the wings, or even as a sweeper. He was mostly an offensive midfielder or second striker.

Gullit’s athleticism was a pillar of his game and made him one of the best players of all time. Because of his height, power, and outstanding jumping skills, he combined strength, speed, and technique with excellent aerial abilities. Despite his size, he played with grace, displaying natural balance, composure, technical proficiency, and fluid dribbling skills that gave his play a refined feel.

Gullit’s footballing IQ was typified by intelligence, creativity, vision, and spatial awareness, which aided his goal-scoring prowess early on and enabled him to convert to a playmaker role in later years. He became a legendary character as a result of his physical prowess and artistic refinement paired with his leadership abilities. He was a proficient free-kick shooter as well. His career was marred by injuries, though, which eventually had an impact on his fitness.

Football great George Best compared Gullit favorably to other greats in 1990, praising his poise, bravery with the ball, and apparent delight in the game. Gullit was hailed as an unrivaled player not only for his excellent skill set but also for his unwavering devotion and effect on the field as a result of Best’s accolades and his remarkable attributes.

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Managerial Career

Credit: VK Sportphoto

Across numerous teams and continents, Ruud Gullit’s managing career was characterized by triumphs, controversies, and difficulties. He made history in 1996 when he took over as Chelsea’s player-manager, guiding them to their first major trophy in 26 years with an FA Cup victory. The fact that Gullit was the first manager from outside the British Isles and the first black manager to win a major British football trophy made his accomplishment all the more notable. Despite his early success, he was fired the following season after a rumored disagreement with the club’s board.

Gullit continued his managerial career at Newcastle United, where he won the FA Cup in his first season. His reign was marked by disputes with important figures like Alan Shearer and Robert Lee. His bond with the players was further affected by contentious moves like reassigning squad numbers. Eventually, Gullit left after five games of the 1999–2000 campaign.

Later, he took over at Feyenoord, but his reign came to an end without any victories. Similar conflicts with other players, a lack of awareness of MLS regulations, and a failure to adjust to the dynamics of the league characterized his stint with the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer (MLS). Gullit left the Galaxy after a succession of defeats and internal conflicts.

This Dutch athlete also managed Terek Grozny in the Russian Premier League, where he signed an agreement for an additional year and a half. Gullit only spent a small amount of time in Grozny before leaving the team in the middle of 2011.

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Reception and Legacy


Ruud Gullit Biography talks not only about his career but also about what he has left behind after hanging his boots.

Ruud Gullit was a standout performer and commentator. His musical partnership produced the popular song “South Africa.” He contributed to analysis by coining the term “sexy football.” Gullit’s citation of Nelson Mandela as the Ballon d’Or recipient demonstrated his activism. His popularity was boosted by TV appearances, FIFA’s “Legend” card, and BBC’s Match of the Day. He has received accolades for his adaptability, social conscience, and contributions to a variety of sectors. Gullit’s enthusiastic reaction continues to make him a revered figure in football and elsewhere.

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Ruud Gullit Honors


As a player, Gullit secured noteworthy triumphs, including Eredivisie titles with Feyenoord and PSV, Serie A championships with AC Milan, and a Coppa Italia victory with Sampdoria. His international career was equally illustrious, as he played a pivotal role in leading the Netherlands to victory in the UEFA European Championship of 1988.

Gullit’s individual accolades reflect his exceptional skills and influence on the game. He clinched multiple Dutch Footballer of the Year awards, the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 1987, and the World Soccer Magazine World Footballer of the Year title. His tactical intelligence and dynamic abilities were acknowledged through selections in various teams of the tournament, including the UEFA European Championship and FIFA XI.

Transitioning to management, Gullit continued his success. At Chelsea, he guided the team to a coveted FA Cup triumph during the 1996-97 season. Gullit’s legacy extends beyond his achievements, as he was inducted into the AC Milan Hall of Fame and the Italian Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the sport.

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Ruud Gullit Outside Professional Life


For the last part of Ruud Gullit Biography, we like to talk about his personal life and activities that he was involved in outside the field.

The anti-apartheid song “South Africa,” which was a consequence of Ruud Gullit’s collaboration with the reggae band Revelation Time, became a chart-topper in 1988. In 1984, he also had a modest hit with “Not the Dancing Kind.” He converted to become a football commentator while at Newcastle and coined the term “sexy football” to characterize the alluring, defense-breaking performance. Nelson Mandela was a guest on his talk program on Dutch television, which he hosted and dedicated his 1987 Ballon d’Or award. Gullit traveled to Robben Island and made connections with Mandela’s inmates to demonstrate the effects of apartheid. On networks including ITV, Sky Sports, and Al Jazeera Sports, he worked as a pundit for important football matches.

Gullit’s “Legend” card in FIFA 14 was created by EA Sports. He became a commentator for BBC Match of the Day in 2014 and participated in things like the Heineken Champions League Trophy Tour. He has recently contributed to BeIN Sports’ coverage of the World Cup and UEFA Champions League.

Gullit is a fan of Feyenoord and Maxim Gullit, his son, is a Cambuur player.

That was everything about Ruud Gullit. Hope you enjoyed the Ruud Gullit Biography article!

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Matthias David
Matthias David
If there is one thing that Matthias is passionate about its writing informative articles about football. Matthias is an architect. He creates complex bodies of information in the form of clear and concise article pieces. What a lovely paradox!


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