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Johannes "Johan" Jacobus Neeskens (born 15 September 1951 in Heemstedemarker, Netherlandsmarker) is a Dutch football manager and former midfielder. As a player, he was an important member of the Dutch national team that finished as runner-ups in the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups. He was the assistant coach to Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona but was sacked along with Frank Rijkaard as the end of the 2007-08 season. He was the head coach of the Dutch B national team until June 2009, at which date he has been appointed as the assistant coach to Frank Rijkaard at Galatasaray SK.

Club career

Neeskens, a native of Heemstedemarker, Noord-Holland, started his career at RCH Heemstede in 1968, before being spotted by Rinus Michels and signed for Ajax in 1970. The youngster impressed at right-back, playing in that position for Ajax in the 1971 European Cup Final win against Panathinaikos. During the 1971-72 season, Neeskens took up more of a central midfield role, in support of Johan Cruijff. He adapted well to his new central midfield role because he was a tireless runner, had great technical skills and scored his fair share of goals. Ajax completed a hat-trick of European Cup wins between 1971 and 1973, and Neeskens moved on to FC Barcelona in 1974 to join Cruijff and Michels. There he was nicknamed Johan Segon (Johan the Second).

While his time at Barça was relatively unsuccessful for the club (one cup title ('78) and the 1979 Cup Winners' Cup), he was hugely popular amongst the fans. In 1979, he accepted an offer from the New York Cosmos, spending 5 years at the club. Winding down his career, he also played for FC Groningen (1984-85). ,In June 1985, he signed with the Fort Lauderdale Sun of the United Soccer League. The USL collapsed six games into the 1985 season. He then played for FC Baar (1988-90) and FC Zug in Switzerlandmarker, finally hanging up his boots in 1991.

International career

Neeskens was capped 49 times for his country, scoring 17 goals. He made his debut against East Germany, and played a crucial role in the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups, playing in central midfield. Neeskens scored the opening goal of the 1974 World Cup final against West Germany on a penalty kick after only 2 minutes of play.

Four years later, Neeskens was a crucial player for the Dutch (despite a rib injury suffered in the Scotland defeat), in the absence of Cruijff who had retired from international football in 1977. The Netherlands again reached the final, only to lose to the hosts, this time Argentina, going down 3-1 after extra time (the score at the end of regulation was 1-1). He played his final international game in 1981 in a 2-0 defeat against France in a qualifier for the 1982 World Cup.

Neeskens was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.

Coaching career

At the request of Guus Hiddink, Neeskens, along with Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman, acted as assistant coach for the Dutch national team during the qualifiers and finals of the 1998 FIFA World Cup. When Hiddink stepped down as national coach after the 1998 FIFA World Cup, he performed the same role during the reign of Frank Rijkaard as national coach up until the end of Euro 2000. He was then appointed as coach of Dutch side NEC Nijmegen, leading them to their first European appearance in twenty years in 2003, but was fired in 2004 because of poor results.

In December 2005, Neeskens was appointed assistant coach of the Australian national team, once again at the request of Guus Hiddink, the Socceroos's manager at the time. He worked alongside Hiddink and Graham Arnold as part of their World Cup 2006 campaign, and even afterwards he remained involved with the Australian national team: on 7 October 2006, under contract with FC Barcelona, Neeskens was alongside the Australian national team's bench in a friendly match between Paraguay while visiting Australia for a short break.

After the 2006 World Cup, Neeskens returned to FC Barcelona to replace Henk ten Cate in the club's technical staff, reuniting with Frank Rijkaard. The three-year deal was signed when Neeskens flew in from Germany following Australia's opening win over Japan, but on 8 May 2008, after two disappointing seasons, Barcelona's president Joan Laporta announced that Neeskens (as well as Rijkaard) were to leave Barcelona at the end of the season.

Neeskens will now join Frank Rijkaard at Galatasaray as his assistant manager.


Eredivisie: 1972, 1973

Dutch Cup: 1971, 1972

UEFA Champions League: 1971, 1972, 1973

UEFA Supercup: 1972

Intercontinental Cup: 1972

Copa del Rey: 1978

UEFA Cup Winners Cup: 1979

Career statistics


  1. Johan Neeskens in İstanbul
  2. NEESKENS' GAME-WINNER LIFTS SUN, 3-1 Miami Herald, The (FL) - Sunday, June 23, 1985

External links

1968-69 RCH Eerste Divisie 34 0
1969-70 34 1
1970-71 Ajax Eredivisie 33 1
1971-72 28 10
1972-73 32 7
1973-74 31 15

1974-75 Barcelona La Liga 27 7
1975-76 32 12
1976-77 33 8
1977-78 18 2
1978-79 30 6

1979 New York Cosmos North American Soccer League 13 4
1980 17 4
1981 6 2
1982 17 0
1983 23 2
1984 18 5

1984-85 Groningen Eredivisie 7 0

1985-86 Minnesota Strikers
1986-87 Fort Lauderdale Sun
1986-87 Löwenbrau

1987-88 Baar 9 1
1988-89 13 4
1989-90 1 0
1990-91 Zug 1 0

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