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Franklin Edmundo Rijkaard (born 30 September 1962) is a Dutchmarker football manager and former player. Rijkaard has played for Ajax, Real Zaragoza and Milan, and represented his national side 73 times, scoring 10 goals. In his coaching career, he has been at the helm of the Dutch national side, Sparta Rotterdam and Barcelona. He is currently the head coach of Turkish Süper Lig side Galatasaray. His mother is Dutch and his father is Surinamesemarker.

Playing career

Ajax (1980–1987)

Rijkaard was just 17 when Ajax coach Leo Beenhakker gave him his senior squad debut 23 August 1980. He made an immediate impact, scoring for his team 0–3 in the 2–4 away victory over Go Ahead Eagles, the first league match in the 1980–81 season. He would play another 23 games for Ajax in his first season, netting a total of 4 goals. In 1981–82 he won his first Dutch Eredivisie championship with Ajax, and went on to successfully defend that title in the following 1982-83 season. Rijkaard stayed at Ajax for seven and a half seasons, as a central defender (1981–82, 1982–83, 1984–85), a right midfielder and a central midfielder (1985–86). During this period he won the Dutch league championship three times (1981–82, 1982–83, 1984–85) and the Dutch Cup (KNVB-Cup 3 times (1982–83, 1985–86, 1986–87). In the 1986–87 season he won the European Cup II (Cup Winners' Cup) with Ajax (Final: Ajax 1-0 Lokomotiv Leipzig). In September 1987, what would have been Rijkaard's third season (1987–88) under Dutch football legend Johan Cruijff as head coach, Rijkaard stormed off the training field and vowed never to play under him again. He was signed by the Portuguese club Sporting CP, but he signed too late to be eligible to play in any competition. He was immediately loaned out to Spanish team Real Zaragoza, but upon completing his first season at Zaragoza, was signed by Italian side Milan.

Milan (1988–1993)

His five seasons at Milan made him a legend. It was coach Arrigo Sacchi who saw Rijkaard as playing a pivotal role at Milan and transformed the central defender into a world class holding midfielder, where the Dutchman's aggressive and firm style would go on to influence the likes of Patrick Vieira to replicate in future years. Playing alongside fellow country-men Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit, Rijkaard won the European Cup twice (in 1989 against Steaua Bucureşti and 1990, against Benfica) and the domestic Serie A championship twice. In the 1990 European Cup Final he scored the only goal to win the cup for Milan. He was also believed to have apologized to Cruijff while at Milan.

Rijkaard's temperament though, was still in question, that became evident when he spat multiple times on Rudi Völler during the 1990 FIFA World Cup, which the Dutch entered as favourites. The Netherlandsmarker went on to lose the match, in a tournament that was marred by a pre-tournament coach change and an underperforming squad. Rijkaard's spitting on Rudi Völler earned him the media nickname of "the llama", and for Völler accusations of racism.

Ajax return (1993–1995)

After five seasons in Italy, Rijkaard returned to Ajax in 1993. With Louis van Gaal at the helm, Rijkaard and Danny Blind formed the experienced defensive core of the Ajax team that won the first two of three consecutive Dutch Championships. Ajax were the unbeaten champions of the Netherlands in 1994–95 season and carried that success into Europe. In his final game, Rijkaard won the European Cup (which had been renamed as the Champions League) again, with a 1–0 victory over Milan in the 1995 final at the Ernst Happel Stadionmarker in Viennamarker. He was named in the FIFA 100, Pele's list of the 125 World's Greatest Footballers.

International career (1981–1994)

On the international stage, Rijkaard made his debut for the Netherlands in 1981. He was part of the Dutch side that won Euro 1988 with a 2–0 win in the final over the Soviet Union, playing at center-back alongside Ronald Koeman. He won a total of 73 caps and scored 10 goals. Rijkaard also played for the Netherlands during the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups and at Euro 1992.

Rijkaard was involved in an unsavoury incident with Rudi Völler when West Germany played the Netherlands in the 1990 World Cup. Rijkaard was booked for a bad tackle on Völler, as Rijkaard took up position for the free kick he spat in Völler's hair. Völler complained to the referee and was booked as well. From the resulting free kick, Völler then dived, according to himself to avoid a collision with Dutch Keeper Hans van Breukelen, while others, notably Rijkaard and van Breukelen, saw it as a dive in hopes for a penalty. Van Breukelen was angry at this but Rijkaard again confronted Völler by twisting his ear and stamping on his foot. Both Völler and Rijkaard were sent off but Rijkaard again spat in Völler's hair as they left the pitch and was rumoured to have repeated this on the touchline. The German press nicknamed him "Llama" for his spitting.

At Euro 1992, Rijkaard scored a late equalizer for the Netherlands in a 2–2 draw with Denmark at the semi final stage but the Dutch went out on penalties. He made his final appearance for the Netherlands in the 3–2 defeat against eventual winners Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

Managerial career

KNVB (1998–2000)

Frank Rijkaard
Rijkaard's coaching career began when he was appointed manager of the Netherlands national football team in 1998. He had previously served as an assistant coach, along with Johan Neeskens and Ronald Koeman under the managerial tenure of Guus Hiddink. At the time, he was not taken seriously as a manager because of his inexperience, but he was able to guide his national side to the Euro 2000 semi-finals. During the group phase, the Netherlands national football team wins slowly but sure and succeeded to get 3 victories, 1-0 against the Czech Republic, 3-0 against Denmark, and 3-2 against France. In the quarter-final, his side produced the biggest win of the competition, a 6-1 against Yugoslavia. The Netherlands played some of the best football of the tournament but lost their semi-final match to Italy on penalties, and Rijkaard resigned immediately afterwards.

Sparta Rotterdam (2001–2002)

During the 2001–02 season, he became manager of Sparta Rotterdam in the Dutch Eredivisie, the oldest professional team in the country. Rijkaard enjoyed the down-to-earth atmosphere, although the club was not financially strong. Under his leadership, the club was relegated to the first division for the first time in its history, and he was fired as a consequence.

Barcelona (2003–2008)

Rijkaard was not out of a coaching role for long, and less than a year after leaving Sparta Rotterdam, he was appointed manager of Barcelona for the 2003–04 season. The season would prove to be a watershed for the club, but not without initial instability. Rijkaard arrived at the club as it entered a new phase, having elected a new President in Joan Laporta and a new managerial board, but with fans unhappy that Laporta had let English midfielder David Beckham snub the chance to join the club. For Rijkaard, the team he inherited, with the exception of new superstar signing Ronaldinho (who was the club's second choice after Beckham), also consisted of many underachieving players from the old guard and era that failed to meet the club and its fans' demands to match arch rival Real Madrid's success in the early 2000s, having not won a trophy since 1999.

Rijkaard had a disappointing start at Barcelona that saw some sections of the club's fans call for his resignation, and he drew flak from the media when the team lost to Real Madrid in December 2003. Rijkaard's resilience won through and from 2004 onwards, he achieved a massive turnaround, as the team went from strength to strength. Barcelona finished runners-up in La Liga in 2003–04, having been close to the relegation zone at one point in the earlier stages of the season. Rijkaard then took Barcelona to the next level as he phased out the old guard and rebuilt a new-look side around Ronaldinho, with new players like Deco, Samuel Eto'o, Rafael Márquez and Ludovic Giuly, along with the latest promotion of some young players from the previous era trained in the club's youth teams (i.e. Víctor Valdés, Carles Puyol, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta). He eventually succeeded in turning around the fortunes of the club, with the strong support of Laporta, and within the next couple of years finally managed to win La Liga both in 2004–05 and in 2005–06.

He became the first Barcelona coach to have won twice at Real Madrid's stadium Santiago Bernabéumarker, an achievement which even successful managers like Johan Cruijff, Louis van Gaal and Luis Aragonés were unable to accomplish. His no nonsense policy on and off the field, and the sparkling football played by his team, won him many plaudits and Rijkaard was among the five nominated coaches for UEFA's Team of the Year 2005. On 8 March 2006 he was also honoured by UEFA for his contributions to the European Cup Competition throughout his career as player and manager.

Rijkaard also achieved success on the European stage winning the 2005–06 Champions League with a 2–1 win against Arsenal in the final. Barcelona had been losing 1–0 for most of the match before his late tactical substitutions proved the decisive factor, as the introduction of Henrik Larsson and Juliano Belletti contributed directly to Barcelona's two goals. The win made him the only fifth individual to have won the European Cup both as a player and as a manager, alongside Miguel Muñoz, Giovanni Trapattoni, Johan Cruijff, and Carlo Ancelotti.

After losing to Manchester United in the semifinal of the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League, Rijkaard was asked whether he would quit at the end of the season seeing as though he had not won anything for two successive seasons. Rijkaard replied:

"I have no intention of leaving. It would be different if the players were saying it is time for me to go but that is not the case."

On 1 May 2008, it is reported that Frank Rijkaard allegedly confided to a colleague that he would be stepping down as Barcelona manager at the end of the season. But 24 hours later Rijkaard stated in a press conference that he has no intention of leaving Barcelona.

On 8 May 2008, the day after Barcelona's dismal 4-1 defeat to arch rivals Real Madrid, Barcelona's president Joan Laporta announced that at the end of the 2007-2008 season, Frank Rijkaard will no longer be head coach of the first team. Laporta made the announcement after a board meeting; Rijkaard was succeeded by Josep Guardiola. Joan Laporta made it clear that Frank Rijkaard's achievements "made history" and praised him for his time at the club.

Galatasaray (2009–present)

On 5 June 2009, Rijkaard signed a two-year contract to manage the Turkish Süper Lig giants Galatasaray, following the resignation of Bülent Korkmaz two days earlier.

Coaching philosophy and style

As a coach, Frank Rijkaard's essential philosophy is to guide his team towards playing attack-minded football as a cohesive unit. In doing this, he believes a team can achieve the dual objectives of winning games and ensuring the audience's enjoyment of the spectacle. This follows in the best coaching traditions of Rijkaard's countrymen and forebears Rinus Michels and Johan Cruijff. In this light, it is notable that Michels coached both Cruijff and Rijkaard during their respective participations with the Dutch national team, and that Cruijff himself went on to coach Rijkaard. Nonetheless, Rijkaard believes in working within a contemporary football context and is not out to imitate the styles and tactics of past masters. In his own words:

Rijkaard has evidently learned to curb the quick temper of his playing days and is often a portrait of calm and stability in training and along the touchline. He rarely courts controversy in the media and is more apt now to promote a positive environment and let his team's play speak for itself when faced with intense rivalry or criticism.

The tactics used during his tenure as manager of Barcelona best exemplify Frank Rijkaard's commitment to playing stylish attacking football. During the team's 2004–05 and 2005–06 campaigns, the coach frequently fielded a 4-1-2-2-1 formation, a system which encouraged the creativity of the players in the front third of the field and created optimal interplay between the midfielders and forwards during attacks. Within this system the four defenders also tended to play in a relatively high position on the pitch to support the midfield which frequently advanced to participate in the attack. The team generally focuses on maintaining possession in the opponents' half of the field, applying pressure in order to force the opposition to make errors in defense and offensive counter-attacking.

With regards to man-management and motivation, Rijkaard rejects the notion of a "star system" and promotes the idea that every one of his players is a valuable member of the team. He rarely praises one individual over another in the squad, although he has been known to acknowledge the outstanding contributions of a player within the context of a team performance.


As player

As manager


Career statistics

Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Ajax 1980-81 24 4 - - - - - - 35 5
1981-82 27 4 - - - - - - 32 6
1982-83 25 3 - - - - - - 36 9
1983-84 23 9 - - - - - - 35 12
1984-85 34 7 - - - - - - 49 11
1985-86 31 9 - - - - - - 42 11
1986-87 34 7 - - - - - - 45 11
1987-88 8 3 - - - - - - 25 6
Total 300 70 0 0 0 0 0 0 300 70
Sporting CP 1987-88 0 0 - - - - - - 13 2
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 2
Real Zaragoza 1987-88 11 0 - - - - - - 31 7
Total 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 31 7
Milan 1988-89 31 4 - - - - - - 44 9
1989-90 29 2 - - - - - - 42 8
1990-91 30 3 - - - - - - 45 9
1991-92 30 5 - - - - - - 40 8
1992-93 22 2 - - - - - - 39 6
Total 142 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 210 40
Ajax 1993-94 30 10 - - - - - - 40 14
1994-95 26 2 - - - - - - 42 9
Total 56 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 82 23
Career Total 415 74 0 0 0 0 0 0 636 153

Managerial statistics

Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Netherlands 1998 2000

Sparta Rotterdam 2001 2002

Barcelona July 2003 May 2008

Galatasaray June 2009 Present



  1. ¿Más que una mera costumbre repugnante?,, January 16, 2001
  2. "Rijkaard then moves to bill" BBC Sport, June 29, 2000 accessed March 13, 2006
  3. "Big Interview: 'King of cool sits well amid frenzy of Camp Nou'", by Donald McRae, The Guardian, February 19, 2005
  4. "Rijkaard takes acclaim", UEFA Official Website, March 9, 2006 accessed March 13, 2006
  5. Galatasaray appoint Rijkaard as coach
  6. "Rijkaard calls on Barcelona fans to show returning Mourinho some respect" by Jon Brodkin, The Guardian, March 7, 2006 accessed March 20, 2006
  7. Excerpt of an interview with Rijkaard, World Soccer, March 2005

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