Ruud GullitThe Black Tulip
Ruud Gullit (born as Ruud Dil, September 1st 1962 in Amsterdam) is a Dutch footballer turned manager, who played professionally in the 1980s and 1990s. Raised in the school of ‘Total Footall’, he remains one of the most prestigious and accomplished players of the beautiful game and his incredible versatility allowed him to play as defender, midfielder and forward.
In 1982, on his 19th birthday, Ruud made his international debut. He went on become the captain of the Netherlands national team that was victorious at Euro 88 and was also a member of the squad for the 1990 World Cup. He was named the European Footballer of the Year in 1987 and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989. Gullit made appearances for many top European teams, notably, PSV Eindhoven, AC Milan, UC Sampdoria and Chelsea FC.
He finally ended his playing career at Chelsea FC where he was promoted to manager. He made an exceptional start to his managerial career by guiding Chelsea to FA Cup victory. This was the club's first piece of silverware in over a quarter of a century, making Gullit the first foreign manager to win the FA cup. In so doing he made another historic first by becoming the first black manager to achieve the milestone of winning a major trophy not just in England, but in Europe.
He has consistently shown his commitment to campaigns against racism, not only in football, but also in his vehement support of South Africa's struggle against apartheid. He dedicated both his World and European Footballer of the Year awards to Nelson Mandela, who at the time was imprisoned in South Africa for his humanitarian fight against Apartheid. In 1996, the Dutch Sports Ministry honoured Gullit with the role of European Ambassador for the campaigns against Racism and Violence in Football.
‘The more you stand up for your
rights, the bigger a player you are, the more hostility you will
face. I just said to myself during these trying periods, ‘Okay,
Ruud, when you stick up for yourself you know what happen.’ I
haven’t changed my attitude: I’ve always done what I felt had to
be done, what was right.’
‘Ruud, I have lots of friends now. When I was on the inside, you were one of