THE THREE DUTCHMEN WHO INFLUENCED ITALIAN FOOTBALL

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In AC Milan, you would rarely get away in any debate about the club’s football history without hearing the names of three Dutchmen who changed the game for the club and subsequently Italian football. The orange invasion, as it is referred to, was during the end of the 1980’s to early 1990’s at the Italian club. The period was blessed with abundant top rated football talents such as the Argentine – Gabriel Batistuta, prolific striker – Marco Van Basten, Roberto Baggio and Gianfranco Zola.

Marco Van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit formed a three-man Dutch force that changed Italian football. Arrigo Sacchi was made coach at The Rossoneri at the time. He was instrumental to the fine tuning of AC Milan, after a few years of trouble for the club. Basten was blessed with the height, a lethal finish aside being swift. He was touted to be the next Johan Cruyff and he lived up to expectations with his impressive display. He made the switch to The Red and Blacks after a successful campaign with Dutch giants, Ajax.

On the other hand, Gullit signed with the club at almost the same as Basten. Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Costacurta had developed a strong partnership at the defense line leaving both Dutchmen with leading the striking force. This combination led to Milan’s clinching of the title with only two losses.

Frank Rijkaard joined to make the trio much later after a brief stint in Spain for Real Zaragoza and in Portugal for Sporting club de Portugal. He joined to make the trio in 1988. Sacchi helped ease the transformation of Rijkaard from defender to defensive midfielder.  Frank settled well into the role and remains one of the greatest to ever play the position. The there Dutchmen were finalists for the Ballon d’Or after their amazing partnership. The Dutch influence carried on with the trio helping Milan win Serie A titles and wielding great influence in Italian football.

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