Ruud is widely considered as on of the greats of football–a versatile player with an incredible appetite for victory. He was 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.
He developed his football skills in the confines of the Rozendwarsstraat, and street football was instrumental in his formative years. Gullit’s first team were the Meerboys, where he joined as a junior in 1970.
Ruud Gullit moved to Feyenoord in 1982, for a fee of £300,000, where he made 85 league appearances, scoring 31 goals. At Feyenoord Gullit found himself playing alongside Dutch legend Johan Cruyff.
In July 1995, he signed for Chelsea on a free transfer. Initially played as sweeper by manager Glenn Hoddle with limited success, Gullit was moved to his more familiar role in midfield, where he scored six goals. The signing of Gullit, alongside the likes of Mark Hughes and Dan Petrescu, propelled Chelsea to the semi-final of the FA Cup.
Ruud was appointed as a player-manager of Chelsea in 1996 and he guided his team to an FA Cup triumph in 1997, the club’s first major trophy in 26 years. Gullit became the first non-British manager to win a major trophy in England.
Ruud Gullit has also found himself in the pop charts and he scored a No.3 hit with the anti-apartheid song South Africa in the Dutch Top 40 together with the reggae band Revelation Time. Previously he had a modest hit in 1984 with the song Not the dancing kind.
Gullit was sponsored in 1990 to wear a black and white football boot made by Italian sports brand Lotto. The boot he wore was the Lotto Stadio 90, a boot which was initially created for the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
Gullit spent several years working as a football commentator, having previously coined the term “sexy football” during his spell as a BBC pundit during Euro 96 which was at a time Gullit was still playing professionally for Chelsea.
He also appeared as a pundit for ITV during the 2006 FIFA World Cup and works as an analyst for the UEFA Champions League games on Sky Sports and Al Jazeera Sports.
During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Gullit worked as a studio analyst alongside former players Jürgen Klinsmann and Steve McManaman for ESPN.
Gullit is currently working to promote the Belgian-Dutch 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup bid.
One of the most respected figures football, Ruud Gullit is in demand as an after dinner speaker and event host.