Ruud Krol, one of the original Dutch masters, was born in Amsterdam on this day in 1949. So: Gelukkige Verjaardag Ruud Krol!
Krol was part of the great Dutch generation of the 1970s: he played on the great Ajax side that was managed by Rinus Michels and led on the field by Johan Cruijff, Johan Neeskens, Piet Keizer and Krol. Together they famously won three consecutive UEFA European Cups (the precursor to today’s Champions League), and in doing so introduced totaalvoetbal to the world.
Indeed, Krol stayed at Ajax throughout the ’70s, after Cruiff and Neeskens had left for Barcelona and Keizer had also left the squad (for retirement?), leaving only in 1980 to spend a year with the Vancouver Whitecaps of NASL, followed by four seasons in Serie A with Napoli and a couple seasons in France with Cannes.
Krol was also a featured member of the great Dutch national teams of that era–the legendary 1974 team that was probably the best side to not win the World Cup, and he captained the 1978 team that returned to the championship game only to lose to the host nation yet again.
PS: A hat-tip to @retro_mbm for re-tweeting @barafundler‘s message that noted today is Krol’s brirthday and included the link this video. Follow @retro_mbm if you’re interested in the history of the game (“Modern football? No thanks! Classic matches, as they happened. www.retrombm.com”).