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Klaas Jan Huntelaar (born 12 August 1983), nicknamed The Hunter, is a Dutchmarker footballer who currently plays as a striker for Serie A club A.C. Milan and the Dutch national team. Huntelaar is a prolific striker with technique and athleticism and has been compared in style to players such as Marco van Basten and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Former Netherlands and FC Barcelona, and current FC Bayern manager Louis van Gaal has been quoted saying about the player "in the penalty area, he is the best player in the world, bar none."

Named Dutch Football Talent of the Year and Ajax "Player of the Year" in 2006, Huntelaar was a part of the Dutch side that won the 2006 UEFA U-21 Championship where he became the tournament's leading goalscorer. He was also named as one of two strikers in the UEFA Team of the Tournament. He is the all-time top scorer of the Netherlands U-21 national team with 18 goals in 22 appearances. In domestic competition he finished top scorer in the Eredivisie 2005–06 and 2007–08 seasons.

Huntelaar played previously for PSV, De Graafschap, AGOVV Apeldoorn, SC Heerenveen, AFC Ajax and Real Madrid, before joining AC Milan in August 2009.

Early career

Huntelaar was born in Drempt, a village in the Achterhoekmarker region of Netherlandsmarker, but moved to Hummelomarker when he was six weeks old. He lived with parents Dirk-Jan and Maud Huntelaar, and his two brothers Niek and Jelle.

At the age of five, Huntelaar, along with his two brothers, joined the local football team VV H. en K. where he played for the next six years. He was scouted as a youth talent during this period by Go Ahead Eagles but the distance required to travel to the team's base in Deventermarker prevented him from joining the club.

Soon after, he was scouted by De Graafschap and on 6 April 1994 he signed his first youth contract, aged 11. During his first two years with De Graafschap, Huntelaar played in various positions including left wing, attacking midfield, left back, and even goalkeeper; only in his third year was he deployed as a striker.

In the 1997–98 season, the 14-year-old Huntelaar was the main striker for the C-team at De Graafschap and scored 33 goals in 20 matches. The following season saw him promoted to the B1 team, and in the 1999–2000 season he became top scorer of the B1 league with 31 goals. His goalscoring abilities drew the attention of PSV, who subsequently signed him in June 2000.

Club career

PSV

In his first season at PSV, Huntelaar quickly established himself as a prolific goalscorer for their A1 youth teams under coach Willy van der Kuijlen, scoring 26 goals in 23 games to become top scorer in the youth league. In his second season at PSV, Huntelaar was added to the senior squad under coach Guus Hiddink. He made his first team debut on 23 November 2002 in a 0-3 away win over RBC Roosendaal, coming on as a second half substitute for Mateja KeΕΎman in the 76th minute. However, this turned out to be his only appearance for PSV.

De Graafschap

By the start of 2003, it was clear that Huntelaar’s path into the first team was blocked, therefore he was sent out on loan to his previous club De Graafschap where his uncle was financial director. He made his senior debut for De Graafschap on 8 February 2003, coming on as a substitute for Hans van de Haar against Roosendaal. He made his only appearance in the starting lineup on 16 February 2003 as De Graafschap were beaten 1–5 by his future employers SC Heerenveen. He then made his final appearance in the team on 29 May 2003 as De Graafschap lost 2–1 to FC Zwolle, confirming their demotion from the Eredivisie. In total Huntelaar made nine Eredivisie appearances for the Super Farmers, one as a starter and 8 as a substitute, but was unable to score and De Graafschap decided not to extend his loan.

AGOVV

At the start of the 2003–04 season, Huntelaar was again sent out on loan, this time to newly-promoted Eerste Divisie side AGOVV Apeldoorn under coach Jurrie Koolhof. He made a good start, scoring on his debut for AGOVV against TOP Oss, and then scoring a hat-trick in his second league game against Heracles Almelo. Huntelaar scored 26 goals in 35 league appearances and finished the season as the division's top goalscorer as well as being named the Eerste Divisie's Player of the Season. AGOVV later went on to name one of the stands at their Sportpark Berg & Bosmarker stadium the "Klaas-Jan Huntelaar stand" in tribute to his impact at the club.

Heerenveen

At the end of his loan at AGOVV, Huntelaar turned down the opportunity to sign a new contract with PSV, and Frisian club SC Heerenveen moved in to sign him. Huntelaar started the 2004–05 season by scoring on his Eredivisie debut with Heerenveen against AZ and took his scoring tally to 10 goals in 17 games at the winter break. At the end of the season Huntelaar had scored a total of 17 goals in 31 matches, helping Heerenveen qualify for the UEFA Cup. In the 2005–06 season, Huntelaar continued where he had left off in his first season at Heerenveen, and by the winter, he had scored 17 goals in 15 matches at which point the top Dutch clubs began vying for his signature.

Ajax

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar with Ajax.
In January 2006 Huntelaar signed for AFC Ajax, the club he had supported as a child. Heerenveen received €9 million plus future incentives for the player, with 15% (€1.35 million) of the fee going to PSV. Huntelaar made his Ajax debut after the winter break and scored his first goal for the team on 5 February 2006, against his former club SC Heerenveen in a KNVB Cup tie. During February, Huntelaar scored nine goals in seven matches for Ajax, including against Serie A club Inter Milan on his UEFA Champions League debut. Huntelaar ended the season as top scorer for Ajax with 16 league goals in 16 appearances despite only joining in January, and also finished up as the Eredivise's top scorer with 33 league goals. He scored a total of 44 goals in 47 appearances in all club competitions. Ajax finished second in the Eredivisie and Huntelaar featured in the Eredivisie Playoffs for Champions League qualification, scoring in consecutive matches against Feyenoord as well as playing in the victory over FC Groningen to secure Ajax's place in the following season's Champions League. In the KNVB Cup semi-final, Huntelaar scored a bicycle kick equalizer in injury-time against Roda JC, taking the game to extra-time. Ajax went on to win 4–1 with Huntelaar scoring another goal in the 109th minute. In the final, against his former club PSV, Huntelaar scored two goals to help Ajax win the KNVB Cup 2–1. Huntelaar was named Dutch Football Talent of the Year and Ajax Player of the Year for 2005–06.

In July 2006 Huntelaar became the first player to score at Arsenal's new Emirates Stadiummarker in a testimonial match for Dennis Bergkamp. He was named vice-captain of Ajax for 2006–07 in his first full season at the club. Huntelaar scored two goals for Ajax in a Champions League qualifying match against FC Copenhagen to secure a 2–1 away win in the first leg, but a 2–0 home defeat in the second leg saw them knocked out of the Champions League on aggregate. Ajax went on to play in the UEFA Cup where Huntelaar scored seven goals in seven matches, including against Werder Bremen who would eliminate them in the third round. In the Eredivisie, Huntelaar scored 21 goals as Ajax again finished second, once more having to play in the Eredivisie Playoffs to claim a place in the Champions League. Huntelaar scored two goals in the second leg of the Playoffs semi-final against Heerenveen in a 4–1 aggregate win. Ajax then beat AZ 4–2 on aggregate for a place in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. In the KNVB Cup, Huntelaar scored four goals in six matches, including an equalizer in the final against AZ which ended in a 1–1 draw after extra-time. Huntelaar scored in the penalty shoot-out decider to help Ajax retain the KNVB Cup, winning 8–7 on penalties. Huntelaar scored 36 goals in 51 games in all competitions for Ajax in 2006–07.

In 2007–08 Ajax were again knocked out of the Champions League at the qualifying stage, with Huntelaar missing a penalty in the first leg against Slavia Prague. Ajax were also eliminated from the UEFA Cup by Dinamo Zagreb on away goals, with Huntelaar's two goals not enough to secure Ajax's place in the competition. In the first Eredivisie match of the season, Huntelaar scored four goals in an 8–1 away victory over newly promoted De Graafschap. Following the retirement of Jaap Stam in October 2007, Huntelaar was made temporary captain, pending the return of experienced midfielder Edgar Davids from injury. On 6 April 2008, Huntelaar scored his 100th goal in the Eredivise with a hat-trick in Ajax's 4–1 win against De Graafschap. In the previous 25 years, only Dennis Bergkamp and Dirk Kuyt had managed that feat before their 25th birthday. Huntelaar finished the season with 33 goals in 34 appearances, becoming top scorer in the Eredivisie and the first Ajax player to score 30 league goals in a season for 21 years, since Marco van Basten in 1986–87.

At the start of the 2008–09, Marco van Basten was appointed as Ajax coach and named Huntelaar as permanent first team captain. Huntelaar scored nine goals in 15 appearances in all competitions before suffering torn ankle ligaments on 9 November 2008 in a league match against Sparta Rotterdam. He would not play again for fully eight weeks later and it turned out to be his last game for Ajax.

Real Madrid

At the start of December 2008, Real Madrid C.F. reached an agreement with Ajax to sign Huntelaar in the mid-season transfer window in January. Huntelaar joined Real Madrid in January 2009 for an initial fee thought to be worth €20 million, potentially rising to €27 million.

He made his debut on 4 January 2009 on his return from injury in a La Liga home match against Villarreal. He played for 56 minutes and made four further appearances as a substitute, before scoring his first goal for the team on 15 February 2009 in a 0–4 away win at Sporting GijΓ³n. Real Madrid had planned to add both Huntelaar and fellow new signing Lassana Diarra to their 2008-09 Champions League squad, but both players had already featured in the same season's UEFA Cup for previous clubs Ajax and respectively. UEFA rules would allow only one of the pair to be registered by 1 February 2009 and defensive midfielder Diarra was selected to play in the competition. Huntelaar went on to score eight goals in 20 appearances (13 starts and 7 sub appearances) in just half a season at Real Madrid.

Milan

In August 2009, he transferred to Serie A club A.C. Milan for €15 million, signing a four-year contract.On 14 August 2009 Huntelaar made his debut for Milan during the TIM Trophy friendly tournament. Huntelaar was unable to play any part in Milan's opening league game of the season due to a suspension he had incurred whilst playing for Real Madrid. On 29 August, Huntelaar made his competitive league debut for Milan coming on as a sub in the 0–4 loss to cross-city rivals Internazionale. On 29 November, he scored his first and second goal for A.C. Milan in the game against Catania in injury time after coming on in the 84th minute. Milan won the game due to Huntelaar's goals 2-0 and passed Juventus to stand second in the league.

International career

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar playing in a friendly match between Austria and Netherlands.

Youth squads

Huntelaar played in the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship for the Netherlands under coach Louis van Gaal. He scored two goals in the tournament before the Dutch were eliminated in the quarter finals by Egypt. After scoring 44 goals in 47 appearances for Heerenveen and Ajax in all competitions during 2005–06, Huntelaar was named in the preliminary Netherlands squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but was not selected for the final squad and instead sent to play in the UEFA Under-21 Championship held in Portugalmarker. Huntelaar became top scorer in the tournament with four goals including two in the final on 4 June 2006 to help the Netherlands beat Ukraine 3–0 and claim their first ever title at under-21 level. Huntelaar was named as one of two strikers in the UEFA Team of the Tournament. In the aftermath, Huntelaar was promoted from the under-21 squad where he remains the Netherlands all-time top goalscorer with 18 goals in 22 matches.

Senior squad

Following his achievements with the under-21 squad, Huntelaar was selected by senior team coach Marco van Basten for the Dutch national team's next friendly match, away against the Republic of Ireland on 16 August 2006. Huntelaar scored two goals and provided two assists on his senior debut in the Netherlands 4–0 win, and thus became the first Dutch player to score on his full international debut for 28 years since Dick Nanninga in 1978.

After being left out for a number of games, he was recalled to the squad in October 2007 for the UEFA Euro 2008 Qualifying games against Romania and Slovenia. Due to the suspension of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Huntelaar was in the starting line-up against Slovenia and went on to score his first competitive international goal in the Netherlands 2–0 victory. Huntelaar was included in the Netherlands Euro 2008 squad, and scored in his only appearance in the tournament with the opening goal of their final Group C match against Romania in a 2–0 victory.

With the retirement of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Huntelaar became new Dutch national team coach Bert van Marwijk's first choice striker for the FIFA World Cup 2010 qualification match against Iceland in October 2008, and scored in a 2–0 victory. Huntelaar has since taken his goalscoring record at international level to 14 goals in 25 appearances for the Dutch senior team.

Career statistics

Club

As of 1 December 2009

Club performance League Cup Playoffs Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
2002–03 PSV Eredivisie 1 0 – – – 1 0
De Graafschap 9 0 – – – 9 0
2003–04 AGOVV Eerste Divisie 35 26 2 1 – – 37 27
2004–05 Heerenveen Eredivisie 31 16 1 0 – 7 3 39 19
2005–06 15 17 1 1 – 6 2 22 20
Ajax 16 16 3 5 4 2 2 1 25 24
2006–07 32 21 6 4 4 2 9 9 51 36
2007–08 34 33 3 1 4 0 4 2 45 36
2008–09 10 6 1 1 – 4 2 15 9
Real Madrid La Liga 20 8 – – – 20 8
2009–10 Milan Serie A 8 2 0 0 – 1 0 8 2
Career Total 211 145 17 13 12 4 32 19 273 181


International

As of 5 September 2009

National team Year Friendly Competitive Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Netherlands 2006 2 2 2 0 4 2
2007 3 0 2 1 5 1
2008 5 5 4 2 9 7
2009 3 2 4 2 7 4
Career Total 13 9 12 5 25 14


International Goals

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 16 August 2006 Lansdowne Roadmarker, Dublinmarker, Irelandmarker 0–1 0–4 Friendly
2 16 August 2006 Lansdowne Roadmarker, Dublinmarker, Irelandmarker 0–3 0–4 Friendly
3 17 October 2007 Philips Stadionmarker, Eindhovenmarker, Netherlandsmarker 2–0 2–0 Euro 2008 Qualifying
4 6 February 2008 Poljud Stadiummarker, Splitmarker, Croatiamarker 0–2 0–3 Friendly
5 26 March 2008 Ernst Happel Stadionmarker, Viennamarker, Austriamarker 3–1 3–4 Friendly
6 26 March 2008 Ernst Happel Stadionmarker, Viennamarker, Austriamarker 3–4 3–4 Friendly
7 24 May 2008 De Kuipmarker, Rotterdammarker, Netherlandsmarker 2–0 3–0 Friendly
8 17 June 2008 Stade de Suissemarker, Bernmarker, Switzerlandmarker 1–0 2–0 Euro 2008
9 6 September 2008 Philips Stadionmarker, Eindhovenmarker, Netherlandsmarker 1–0 1–2 Friendly
10 11 October 2008 De Kuipmarker, Rotterdammarker, Netherlandsmarker 2–0 2–0 World Cup 2010 Qualifying
11 11 February 2009 Stade 7 Novembermarker, RadΓ¨smarker, Tunisiamarker 0–1 1–1 Friendly
12 28 March 2009 Amsterdam ArenAmarker, Netherlandsmarker 1–0 3–0 World Cup 2010 Qualifying
13 1 April 2009 Amsterdam ArenAmarker, Netherlandsmarker 2–0 4–0 World Cup 2010 Qualifying
14 5 September 2009 De Grolsch Vestemarker, Netherlandsmarker 3–0 3–0 Friendly


Honours

Club

Ajax

International

Netherlands U-21

Individual

  • Eerste Divisie Top Scorer 2003–04
  • Eerste Divisie Player of the Year 2003–04
  • Eredivisie Top Scorer 2005–06, 2007–08
  • Eredivisie Talent of the Year 2005–06
  • UEFA U-21 Championship Top Scorer 2006
  • Dutch Under-21 All-Time Top Scorer


References



External links




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