It’s notoriously difficult to pick an all-time eleven. However, they make for great entertainment in bar-room debates of a weekend, so it was that I sat down this week to compile my all-time PSV team. I poured through historical records, aiming to highlight those true greats who often go without recognition but are deserving nonetheless. Furthermore, I tried to concentrate on the legacy created by certain players and incorporate my own appreciation of their skills into the team. Accordingly, one or two of my favourites make somewhat surprising appearances.
As with most all-time teams, this is a highly subjective process and you are bound to disagree with some selections. If so, I would be really interested to see what your team all-time team would look like. I’m always open to a great Dutch football debate.
So, without further adieu, here is my all-time PSV team:
GK: Hans van Breukelen, PSV 1984-94
An alert goalkeeper who helped Oranje win Euro ’88, van Breukelen played in excess of 300 times for PSV after signing from Nottingham Forest. In Eindhoven, he was part of a richly successful team and won six Eredivisie titles and three KNVB Cups. The Utrecht-born stopper is most famous for a fantastic penalty shootout save which won PSV the European Cup against Benfica in 1988. Nowadays, van Breukelen works as an entrepreneur and also serves on the PSV board.
RB: Eric Gerets, PSV 1985-92
A rampaging right-back, Gerets is widely considered one of the greatest Belgian footballers of all-time. During an illustrious spell at PSV, Gerets was affectionately nicknamed “Lion” due to his long flowing hair and beard. Gerets won six Eredivise titles as a player, in addition to two KNVB Cups, and remains the only PSV captain ever to lay hands on the European Cup. Currently, Gerets manages Lekhwiya SC in Qatar.
CB: Huub Stevens, PSV 1975-86
The grizzled Stevens was a combative defender who took no prisoners. A brave-hearted winner, Stevens helped PSV to three Eredivisie titles and one KNVB Cup triumph during his eleven year spell. He also starred for the UEFA Cup-winning PSV side of 1978, producing a valiant display in the Final. After retiring, Stevens embarked on a distinguished coaching career, most notably with PSV, Schalke 04 and Hamburg. Now, he is head coach of PAOK Salonika.
CB: Jaap Stam, PSV 1996-98
Stam may have spent only two seasons at the Philips Stadion, but his fantastic performances helped the club win one Eredivisie title and KNVB Cup whilst also opening the door to a distinguished career throughout Europe. PSV received a then-record £10.6m transfer fee for the robust defender, who went on to play for Manchester United, Lazio, Milan and Ajax, where he currently serves as a coach.
LB: Jan Heintze, PSV 1982-94, 1999-2003
A whole-hearted, defensive-minded full-back, Heintze made over 500 appearances for PSV during two separate spells. Heintze is perhaps the most-decorated PSV player of all-time, having won nine Eredivisie titles, three KNVB Cups, three Johan Cruyff Shields and one European Cup during sixteen years of loyal service. Heintze is now a commercial real-estate developer in the Eindhoven area.
CM: Willy van de Kerkhof, PSV 1973-88
A consummate box-to-box midfielder, Willy van de Kerkhof was an integral part of some great PSV and Oranje teams. Along with twin brother Rene, Willy represented Oranje on 63 occasions, including World Cups in ’74 and ’78. At PSV, van de Kerkhof also won six Eredivisie titles, in addition to three KNVB Cups and, of course, the 1988 European Cup. The great Pele named Willy one of the top 125 living footballers in 2004, a fitting tribute to a fine player. He currently works for his own business networking firm in Eindhoven.
CDM: Mark van Bommel, PSV 1999-2005, 2012-13
When I first began watching PSV, Mark van Bommel embodied the heart and soul of the club. He was tenacious, driven and passionate; a fine captain who was often misunderstood by the British media. After arriving from Fortuna Stittard in 1992, van Bommel played a vital role in PSV winning four Eredivisie titles, one KNVB Cup and four Johan Cruyff Shields. A current coach within the PSV youth system, van Bommel also played for Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AC Milan before returning and ending his career in Eindhoven last term.
CM: Phillip Cocu, PSV 1995-98, 2004-07, Current Manager
A clean-spirited maestro, Cocu was born and raised in Eindhoven before starring for PSV in numerous spells and capacities. A centurion for Oranje, Cocu is a fan favourite at the Philips Stadion, having won four Eredivise titles and two KNVB Cups in a career which also took him to Barcelona. I remember Cocu mostly for his second spell at the club, a magical time during which he was club captain. Nowadays, Cocu is manager at PSV, having coached within the academy since retirement.
CAM: Ruud Gullit, PSV 1985-87
Ruud Gullit is one of the greatest Dutch footballers who ever lived. In an illustrious career highlighted by Euro ’88 success and European Footballer of the Year honours in 1987, Gullit used PSV as a springboard on to the world stage. The silky-skilled midfielder was versatile and dynamic, scoring 53 goals in just 75 PSV games, whilst providing innumerable assists. A defining image from the Eredivisie during this era has Gullit streaming effortlessly through midfield for PSV, with dreadlocks dancing and toes twinkling. The former Oranje captain now works occasionally within the football media.
ST: Willy van der Kujlen, PSV 1964-81
A standard-bearer for a future lineage of exceptional PSV strikers, van der Kuijlen was awarded a statue at the main entrance of the Philips Stadion, a fitting tribute to his incredible legacy. In seventeen years, Mr PSV scored a 311 goals for the club, an untouchable record which is unlikely ever to be broken. The clinical striker won three Eredivisie championships, two KNVB Cups and was a scorer in triumphant 1978 UEFA Cup Final.
ST: Mateja Kežman, PSV 2000-04
The Doelpuntenmachine, Kežman is my all-time PSV idol. I grew up watching him score at an obscene rate in the early Millennium, earning worldwide recognition and shooting PSV to two further Eredivisie championships. A move to Chelsea sullied Mateja’s reputation in Britain, but his 105 goals in 122 PSV appearances earn him a place in my legendary lineup. Kežman retired in 2011, and is now working as a sports agent.
Manager: Guus Hiddink, PSV 1987-90, 2002-06
A highly-respected figure within world football, Hiddink is royalty in Eindhoven. The rotund coach, who brought his fine tactical acumen to jobs with Oranje, Real Madrid, Russia and Chelsea during an extensive career, oversaw two unique periods of absolute domination for PSV. In all, he steered the club to six Eredivisie titles, four KNVB Cups, one Johan Cruyff Shields and, of course, the European Cup of 1988. Now, Hiddink is seeking one last challenge after a truncated spell with Russian side Anzhi.
Ronaldo – Yes, the Brazilian Ronaldo. Even before Barça, Madrid, Inter and Milan, Ronaldo spent two years in Eindhoven with PSV. He tore through the Eredivisie with 42 goals in 46 games.
Ruud van Nistelrooy – A phenomenal striker at PSV, Ruud scored a staggering 62 goals in just 67 appearances for his hometown club before a £19m move to Manchester United. He now works as a coach within the PSV youth academy.
Romário – One of the few known men to score 1,000 career goals, Romário beguiled a generation with five years of brilliance at PSV from 1988-93. Also, branded a “genius” by Johan Cruyff.
Coen Dillen – The first great PSV goalscorer, Dillen set the record which van der Kuijlen broke; his 288 goals helping to success at the dawn of professionalism in Dutch football.
Luc Nilis – A real fans favourite at PSV, Belgian Nilis formed a formidable partnership with van Nistelrooy and ultimately scored over a century of goals for the club in a six-year period.
Arjen Robben – You can’t have Batman (Kežman), without Robben. Arjen was one of my first PSV heroes, back when he had hair! Now, of course, he is one of the world’s very best players, and scored the winner in last years Champions League Final for Bayern Munich.
Rene van de Kerkhof – The twin brother of Willy, Rene was also a fine player for PSV and Oranje, winning multiple medals and earning similar recognition amongst Pele’s top 125 living players.
So, that’s my team. In total, the chosen players have made thousands of appearances for PSV, won hundreds of medals, and won earned a place within the clubs illustrious history. Now, let’s see if you can pick a team to beat mine.
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