Name: Marinus (RINUS) Jacobus Hendricus MICHELS

Born: February 9th 1928, Amsterdam, Netherlands


Best Achievements

1988 – European Championship Winner (Netherlands)

1974 – 2nd placed World Cup (Netherlands)

1971 – European Champions Cup Winner (Ajax)

1974 – Spanish League Winner (Barcelona)

1971 – Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (Barcelona)

1966-1967-1968-1970 – Netherlands League (Ajax)




Rinus Michels has a very rich list of achievements as a coach within two different levels, clubs

and national teams.

The first major tournament final from his beloved country, Netherlands came with him, in

1974, when he coached a magnificent side with Cruyff, Neeskeens and Rep as nuclear players,

beating Brazil and Argentina on the way to the decisive game of the tournament. Then a 2-1

defeat to the home side, West Germany from Beckenbauer in the final. Frustrating defeat but

the overall performance along the tournament was a mark in football history, playing

under a new concept called “Total Football” a great example of his pioneering to the game


His career golden moment was when he won the 1988 European Cup. He led a great squad

with players like Gullit, Van Basten and Rijkaard to the first major trophy from his native

country. He didn´t start well the tournament with a lost against USSR, but after it, only wins,

including a sweet revenge defeat against West Germany in the semis (2-1) and another

revenge against USSR in the final (2-0), winning with goals from Gullit and Van Basten. It

was an amazing celebration in the end, fourteen years after the painful defeat, in the same

stadium, Munich Olympic stadium.

His club career was also successful. He won the 1971 European Champions Cup with Ajax, a

team he build from nothing and coached to four league wins before conquering Europe. Then,

he went to Barcelona where he won once the league and the cup and also the Inter-Cities Fairs

Cup. Johan Cruyff played for him at both Ajax and Barcelona teams and he was the player that

symbolized what Rinus Michels demanded from a football player on the field.

Rinus Michels career may have some frustrations like not winning the World Cup with

Netherlands or the European Champions Cup with Barcelona, but there are few names in this

football world that can say they won a major trophy with a national team and a club and he

did it.




Personal Memories


I have never heard about Rinus Michels before the Euro 1988, but after the tournament started,

I understood that he was a really charismatic manager, that had a great relation with his

players and his team played really positive and attacking football. Four years later, I saw the

Euro 1992 and Netherlands played again very well, and probably deserved another win,

but the unlucky penalty shootout against Denmark saw them go out at the semis when I was

supporting them to win. No more memories from him, until I watched historic world cup

Netherlands games from 1974 and I understood the impact and pioneering ideas he brought

into the game and he was so close to become world champion with a relative small country.


Famous Quotes


“It is an art in itself to compose a starting team, finding the balance between creative players

and those with destructive powers, and between defence, construction and attack – never

forgetting the quality of the opposition and the specific pressures of each match.”

“Professional football is something like war”.




He remains a symbol and a reference to the Netherlands football. Nowadays some of his

ex players coach at high level and his style is forever in the ADN of his country football, we

can feel it when we watch them play in a major tournament. Netherland always play with a

positive and attacking tactic, trying to win the game, instead of avoiding loss and Rinus was the

mentor of this attitude. Some ex-players said about him:

“As a player and as a coach there is nobody who taught me as much as him. He put the

Netherlands on the map in such a way that almost everybody still benefits from it. With him,

as well as with me, results may have come first, but quality of soccer was No 1. Just winning is

not enough. I will miss Rinus Michels.” – Johan Cruyff

“The passing away of the grand old man of the training camp, the father of Dutch football, is

an enormous loss for the football world. He knew how to motivate a group and how to take

away the stress at the right moments with his sense of humour. It’s no coincidence that he’s

the only coach to have taken a big prize with Oranje.” – Marco Van Basten




Author: Rui Marques

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