20 PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord Players Who Went on to Big Things
Ahead of Sunday’s clash between Dutch giants PSV and Feyenoord, Bleacher Report present the definitive list of 20 players who left either club before going onto great things.
The pair have enjoyed admirable success over the years—Feyenoord with 14 Eredivisie titles, one European Cup and two UEFA Cups, and PSV with 21 Dutch championships, one European Cup and one UEFA Cup. However, the talent that has passed through their hands and gone onto great things is astounding.
This article doesn’t present the clubs’ greatest players of all time, or those who achieved great things elsewhere before enjoying their twilight years at one of the pair. Rather, we focus on those who honed their craft or improved their status at PSV or Feyenoord before moving onto a higher stage.
He may never have been considered among the world’s elite goalkeepers, but Jerzy Dudek enjoyed a fine career.
It began in his homeland of Poland, before he moved to Dutch side Feyenoord, with whom he made 139 appearances. He won the Dutch title in 1999 and was recruited by Liverpool in 2001.
While his league showings were often characterised by errors, he starred in both the 2003 League Cup Final victory over Manchester United and—famously—in Liverpool’s magnificent comeback-and-penalty-shootout victory over Milan in 2005.
He spent the final four years of his career as the backup keeper for Real Madrid.
Towering Argentine forward Julio Cruz is one of several players on this list who swapped South America for the Eredivisie.
An impressive 45 goals in 86 games for De Trots van Zuid precipitated a move to one of Europe’s major leagues and, after three seasons with Bologna, he signed for Inter in 2003.
At the San Siro he won four consecutive Serie A titles, as well as five assorted Italian cups.
He represented his nation at the 2006 World Cup.
The versatile Bolo Zenden represented PSV for five years, having graduated from the club’s academy.
During his time with the side, he won the Eredivisie title in 1997, the KNVB Cup and two Johan Cruyff Shields.
From there, his career meandered to Barcelona, where he won the Liga BBVA title but gently lost his place in the first team.
He spent eight of the next 10 years in the Premier League, picking up silverware with Middlesbrough and Liverpool, but losing finals as well (the FA Cup with Chelsea and the Champions League with the Reds).
Over a half-century of caps with the Dutch national side, Zenden represented the side at three major competitions—making the semi-final of both the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.
At the time of writing, he is the assistant manager at Jong PSV—the club’s reserve team.
Gudjohnsen’s stay at PSV may have been brief—he spent a couple of years at the club back in the mid-1990s—but it proved to be the beginning of a long, nomadic and successful career.
In the intervening 20 years, the Icelandic forward has turned out for clubs across Europe, starring for sides in England, France, Spain, Greece and, currently, Belgium.
He won the Eredivisie with PSV, two Premier League titles with Chelsea, the Liga BBVA title with Barcelona and the Champions League, also with the Catalonians, in 2009.
Kalou never quite established himself as a key man at Stamford Bridge, during six years at Chelsea, but he did, nonetheless, score some crucial goals at some crucial times.
Despite being let go by the club, he won one Premier League title, four FA Cups, one League Cup and, most memorably, one Champions League title with the Blues, playing 84 minutes in that memorable final against Bayern Munich.
Kalou enjoyed a scoring ratio of better than a goal every other game at Feyenoord, and he is approaching similar figures at his current club, Lille.
Following South Korea’s excellent showing on home soil at the 2002 World Cup, Korean pair Park Ji-Sung and Lee Young-Pyo were recruited by PSV. The key protagonist in the transfer was Guus Hiddink who, after the tournament, left his post as the Taegeuk Warriors’ boss to take the helm in Eindhoven.
Both men were important components of the talented Boeren team that Hiddink guided to the Champions League semi-final in 2005.
Since leaving Holland, the midfielder has become a four-time Premier League winner at Manchester United and also claimed the Champions League title in 2008.
He has subsequently returned to PSV, on loan from QPR.
It’s a little difficult to evaluate the career of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. The forward has a prolific record that few can match, but he has never won a league title and spent brief, fairly underwhelming spells at both Real Madrid and Milan.
Nonetheless, his goal-scoring record at Heerenveen (33 in 46), Ajax (76 in 92) and Schalke (58 in 96 to date)—will stand the test of time.
Perhaps a strong World Cup will amend his confused standing in the world game—at the time of writing, he stands sixth in the Dutch all-time scoring stakes, seven behind Robin van Persie.
The Holland team that travels to Brazil this summer will likely be filled with a lot of new faces, young stars who represent the future of the national side.
They will, however, be supported by some established older heads.
Key among these will likely be Dirk Kuyt, who ought to reach a century of caps before or during the tournament.
After leaving Feyenoord, where he scored 71 goals in 101 games, Kuyt spent six years at Liverpool and has been at Fenerbahce since 2012.
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst
The highlight of Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s career was possibly his fine performance in Barcelona’s 2006 Champions League final.
Two years previously, he had left Arsenal following a period at the club largely affected by injury. At Barcelona, however, he thrived after being converted from central midfield to left-back and starred against his former club in the victorious showing at the Stade de France.
He twice won the Spanish title, to go alongside championships in Scotland and England.
With Holland, he made 106 appearances, and he captained the side to the 2010 World Cup Final. Against Uruguay, in the semi-final, he scored a long-range belter which was recognised, by Sky Sports, as one of the best goals of the tournament.
Mark Van Bommel
There aren’t too many who can boast of having Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Milan on their CV.
Van Bommel can.
Having started his career with Fortuna Sittard, before moving to PSV, Van Bommel joined Barca in 2005, recruited by his countryman, Frank Rijkaard.
He left the club after a year, having won the Champions League, the Spanish title and the Supercopa…twice.
Not the most popular of players, perhaps, but he won the title at both Bayern and Milan, and he was present as the Netherlands finished as runners-up at the 2010 World Cup.
The current PSV manager enjoyed two spells at the club in the late '90s and early 2000s.
He is an Eindhoven native who returned to the city in 1995 after spells with AZ Alkmaar and Vitesse.
The heart of his career was spent with Barcelona. He spent six years in Catalonia, he became club captain and won the Spanish title in 1999.
He was also a distinguished Holland captain—picking up 101 caps—and experienced both highs (numerous semi-finals) and lows (missed penalties and failed World Cup qualification) during this period.
The striker received glowing praise in Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography (via the Daily Record) and is recognised as a supreme goal scorer.
He scored an amazing 174 goals in 221 games for Scottish giants Celtic and, late in his career, he was a Champions League winner with Barcelona.
At Manchester United, he won a Premier League winner’s medal in 2007 and came third in the 1994 World Cup with Sweden.
Earlier in his career, he averaged approximately one goal in four with Feyenoord and won two KNVB Cups at the club.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
After time with Den Bosch and Heerenveen, Ruud van Nistelrooy moved to PSV in 1998.
During three years at the club, he achieved a magnificent goals-to-games return of 62 in 67.
It was during this time, also, that he broke into the Dutch national side—during his international career, which would last for 13 years, van Nistelrooy managed exactly a goal every other game.
After leaving PSV, having picked up two Eredivisie tiles in the process, the striker won the Premier League with Manchester United and the Liga BBVA championship with Real Madrid.
Robin Van Persie
As early as 2002, it was clear that Robin van Persie was something special. That year he was part of the Feyenoord side that won the UEFA Cup and made his debut for the Netherlands Under-21 side.
Since then, the honours and the international recognition have come in abundance.
He has been compared to Marco van Basten and was tutored by Dennis Bergkamp at Arsenal, where he arrived towards the end of the Invincibles cycle.
He finally got his hands on the Premier League title with Manchester United last season.
When I met Jaap Stam he was in the twilight of his career, playing for Dutch giants Ajax. He made his name, however, with their bitter rivals PSV.
At that time, Stam was both the most expensive Dutch player and the most expensive defender ever.
The right winger has enjoyed a distinguished career at the top of the game and over the last decade has starred for Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
While he began his playing days with Groningen, it was during a two-year stint with PSV that he truly emerged on the radar of European football.
As part of a fine collection of players, he helped the side to the Dutch title in 2003, under Guus Hiddink, before moving to the Premier League.
To date, he has 73 caps for Holland and represented the nation in the last World Cup Final.
Ronald Koeman was already a very established player when he arrived at PSV in 1986. Nonetheless, his time in Eindhoven, along with preceding stints with Groningen and Ajax, set him up for a superb six-year stay in Barcelona.
In Catalonia, he was a key man in the club’s “Dream Team,” a selection, constructed by fellow Dutchman Johan Cruyff, that is still revered today.
Despite winning four consecutive La Liga titles, Koeman’s career highlights were winning contributions to Holland’s Euro 1988 triumph and his match-winning goal in Barcelona’s 1992 Champions League final against Sampdoria.
He ended his career at Feyenoord.
The Brazilian forward is one of only a handful of players to have scored over 1,000 goals and is ranked by RSSSF as the second-most prolific goal scorer of all time.
He is a former FIFA World Player of the Year and won the 1994 World Cup with Brazil.
After leaving Holland—where he scored a miraculous 96 goals in 107 matches—Romario moved to Barcelona, where he once again became a title winner.
Gullit is one of the few players who has achieved success with both Feyenoord and PSV.
The versatile Amsterdam-born star began his career with HFC Haarlem, before moving to Feyenoord and then on to PSV.
After thriving in the context of the Eredivisie, and breaking into the Dutch national side, he moved on to achieve great success with Milan.
In Lombardy, he added three Serie A titles to the three won back in Holland (two with PSV and one with Feyenoord).
He ended his playing career with Chelsea, where he combined his responsibilities on the field with the manager’s job.
The Phenomenal One may have ended his career in flabby ignominy, widely derided as a joke figure, but for a time, he was the most effective and explosive forward in world football.
PSV represented his first foray into European football. He moved to Holland in 1994, shortly after the World Cup, on the advice of Romario and at the age of 17.
In his first season in the Netherlands, he scored 30 goals, but in the second campaign a knee injury affected his progress. Sadly, it was a sign of things to come.