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Rossoneri Advent Calendar Day 10: Ruud Gullit and the Total Football

31 Days Remembering Players From Milan’s Past, Each Date Will Feature A Player Who Donned The Jersey Number.

Carlo Ancelloti, Frank Rijkaard, Marco Van Basten and Ruud Gullit of AC Milan

Ruud Gullit was one of the marquee signings of the new Berlusconi era in the late 1980s and brought with him a dominant nature that would elevate AC Milan's game to dominate both Italy and Europe in years to come. Gullit won a Scudetto in his fuirst season and went on to win back to back European cups in the next two seasons. He also led the Netherlands to the Euros Trophy in 1988 - the only international victory for the country.

Soccer - European Cup Final - AC Milan v Steaua Bucharest Photo by Peter Robinson/EMPICS via Getty Images

Gullit was a different type of footballer, he embodied the 'total football’ philosophy and was a student of Johann Cruyff. When he switched from the Eredivisie to the Serie A he took both the nation and the continent by storm with his versatility and dominance. Gullit started off as a sweeper but transitioned to play as a classic no. 10 and even a supporting striker at times for Marco van Basten. Gullit was the key to completing the Milan's Dutch trio and alongside van Basten and Frank Rijkaard would form one of the strongest and most potent attacks in football history. Gullit's career did stagnate after a while with Milan due to recurring injuries to his knee and the dominant attacker eventually left the club on loan and permanently for Sampdoria in the mid 90s. Gullit was one of the few players who revolutionised a position and as a result was part of changing the course of football history.

Achievements with Milan

  • Serie A: 1987–88, 1991–92, 1992–93
  • European Cup: 1988–89, 1989–90
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 1992, 1994
  • UEFA Super Cup: 1990
  • Intercontinental Cup: 1990

Top Highlight

One of Gullit's finest moments came in the record breaking European Cup final at the Camp Nou in 1989 when Milan beat Steaua Bucuresti 4-0 in a final in front of over 100,000 fans. Gullit scored a brilliant first half brace that allowed Milan to comfortably take home their first continental win in 20 years. Watch the highlights here or below.