AC Milan have made the bold decision to appoint one of their former players as the new manager of the club for his first job in his managerial career. That man is of course Clarence Seedorf, the Dutchman who secured his place in the hall of fame as one of football’s greats during a lengthy spell with Milan during his playing days. This appointment comes as a surprise to some, but has been talked up for some months now.
What did come as no surprise to many was the sacking of Massimo Allegri by i Rossoneri, following the club’s defeat to Sassulo last weekend. The San Siro side have been disappointing for much of the season domestically, and many felt it was time for the former Cagliari man to depart from Milan, following a mixed three-and-a-half years with the Serie A side.
Seedorf is understandably well-loved at the San Siro, given his successful 10-year period as a player. The Suriname-born midfielder made 432 appearances in this time (in all competitions), and scored 62 goals in the process. This led to him attaining a number of well-respected medals, including two league titles and two Champions League titles (in 2003 and 2007). He also won other trophies in his time at AC Milan, but those were his greatest achievements in his time there.
The midfielder was also a part of what was arguably the best team in the world in 1995, under Louis van Gaal at Ajax, alongside talents such as Rijkaard, Davids and Kluivert. The Amsterdam side enjoyed great success both domestically and continentally in the mid-1990s. De Amsterdammers won two Eredivisie titles during Seedorf’s three years in the senior side after coming through the academy, along with a UEFA Champions League title in the 1994-95 season; Seedorf started the final against his future employers Milan, but it was Kluivert who would seal the victory minutes from time. Like with Milan, Seedorf won other trophies with Ajax, but none were as big as his other successes in Holland.
Following Seedorf’s departure from Ajax in 1995, he went to Italy for a year with Sampdoria. After scoring 3 in 32 in Serie A, the Dutchman moved to La Liga, where he joined up with Real Madrid in the biggest opportunity of his career so far. He remained in the Spanish capital for four years, and in this time he added yet more medals to his collection – although perhaps not as many as he would have liked.
The midfielder was able to win a La Liga title in 1997, as well as a Supercopa in the same year, but his biggest success in Spain came in 1998 – in the Champions League. Seedorf once against started the final, and a Mijatović goal was enough to beat Juventus in Amsterdam. This means Seedorf holds the unique achievement of winning the Champions League with three separate clubs.
The Dutch midfielder left the Santiago Bernabéu in 2000, after the turn of the Millennium. He departed for Milan, but not for the Rossoneri; that was to come later. No, he actually joined AC’s city rivals Internazionale for around £21.5 million. In two years at Inter, the midfielder was unable to bring any major silverware to the Italian club, and in 2002 moved across the city to AC Milan, for £19.8 million, with Francesco Coco moving in the opposite direction. The rest, as they say, is history.
In the summer of 2012, Seedorf brought to an end his tenure as a player in Italy, following the expiration of his contract with AC Milan. He was quickly back with a club though, as he signed for Botafogo in Brazil. The veteran midfielder managed to play 81 times in the league (scoring 24 goals) in a year and a half in Brazil’s top tier, but Seedorf was unable to really win much, given his age. However, he added one final medal to his collection, with a Campeonato Carioca now to his name.
The legendary midfielder has now announced his retirement in order to take the manager’s job with Milan. This may seem a strange decision from Silvio Berlusconi, but the winning mentality that Seedorf has could be key to his first coaching job. AC Milan currently lie 12th in Serie A, and 33 points behind league leaders Juventus as it stands; it’s fair to say the Italian side look a shadow of their former selves. Someone needs to turn that around – could it be Seedorf? It’s impossible to say, but there will be millions watching on keenly.