Ruud Gullit, born Rudi Dil; 1 September 1962) is a Dutch football manager and former footballer who played professionally in the 1980s and 1990s as a midfielder or forward. He was the captain of the Netherlands national team that was victorious at UEFA Euro 1988 and was also a member of the squad for the 1990 FIFA World Cup and Euro 1992.
Gullit was born Rudi Dil in Amsterdam to George Gullit, a Surinamese migrant who arrived in the Netherlands with Herman Rijkaard, father of Frank Rijkaard and Ria Dil, his mistress, from the Jordaan district of Amsterdam. The family lived in one split level room on the top floor of a small apartment building. Gullit’s father worked as an economics teacher at a local school, his mother as a custodian at the Rijksmuseum.
Easily recognizable with his distinctive dreadlocks, he was part of the famed Dutch trio at Milan which included Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard. Gullit won three Serie A titles and two European Cups with Milan. In 1996, he signed for Chelsea and a year later was appointed the club’s player-manager. In his debut season, he led Chelsea to FA Cup success, the club’s first major title for 26 years, and in so doing became the first overseas manager to win the FA Cup.
Gullit won the Ballon d’Or in 1987 and was named the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989. He was a versatile player, playing in numerous positions during his career. In 2004, he was named one of the Top 125 greatest living footballers as part of FIFA’s 100th anniversary celebration
In 1981, on his 19th birthday, Gullit made his international debut as a substitute for the Netherlands national team against Switzerland, a game the Dutch lost 2–1.
Gullit, however, was one of the key players for the Netherlands as he helped his country win Euro 1988 under coach Rinus Michels. Having lost their opening game of the tournament to the Soviet Union, the Netherlands beat England and the Republic of Ireland to reach the semi-finals. After defeating West Germany 2–1 in Hamburg, the Netherlands faced the Soviet Union again in the final. Gullit opened the scoring with a well-placed header and Marco van Basten scored an incredible volley to cap a 2–0 win. Gullit was thus the first Dutch captain to hold aloft international silverware.
In 1993, Gullit and Netherlands manager Dick Advocaat began what was to be a long-running dispute which ultimately ended Gullit’s international career. Advocaat’s decision to play Gullit on the right side of midfield in a game against England at Wembley, rather than his usual central position, upset Gullit and this was exacerbated by his substitution for Marc Overmars. Gullit refused to play for the national team following this but later changed his mind and agreed to return, facing Scotland in May 1994. Shortly before the 1994 World Cup, Gullit walked out of the pre-tournament training camp and would never play international football again.