Franklin Edmundo Rijkaard is a former Dutch international football player who used to feature prominently during the 1980s and 1990s. He played as a midfielder and is regarded as one of the best ever players to have graced the sport. He was named by Pele in March 2004 as one of the 125 greatest living footballers and also coach Catalan and European powerhouse FC Barcelona from 2003 to 2008.
Frank Rijkaard enjoyed a glorious playing career and won a host of trophies. He developed at the youth academy of Dutch superpower Ajax and made his first team debut on August 23,1980 when he was only 17 years of age. That debut match was against Go Ahead Eagles and was the first league match of the 1980-1981 season; Rijkaard actually scored in his debut match and inspired Ajax to a 4-2 victory.
Rijkaard plated for Ajax until 1987 and expressed his versatality, playing as a central defender, a right sided midfielder and central midfielder. He won the Dutch league title thrice with Ajax and the Dutch Cup three times. In the 1986-1987 season Rijkaard won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup but then in September 1987 he had a massive row with the then Ajax coach Johan Cruijff and signed for Portuguese giants Sporting CP. But it was too late for him to play in any competition for Sporting and was immediately loaned out to Spanish club Real Zaragoza and at the end of the 1987-1988 season was signed by Italian and European powerhouse AC Milan.
Frank Rijkaard became a huge star at Milan. He played for them until 1993 under Arrigo Sacchi became a world class holding midfielder. At Milan he became alongside the likes of Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit- his compatriot- and won the European Cup twice and the Italian Serie A two times. He returned to Ajax in 1993 and played for them for two years and won the Dutch league twice and in his final match won the European Cup in 1995, defeating his former side AC Milan 1-0.
Frank Rijkaard made his international debut for the Netherlands in 1981 and went onto feature in 73 international matches for his nation, scoring 10 goals. He featured at Euro ‘88 and won the competition with the Dutch national side. He also represented the Dutch side at the 1990 and 1994 World Cup finals and at Euro ‘92. His final final appearance for the Netherlands came in the 3–2 defeat against eventual winners Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 1994 FIFA World Cup.