Clarence Seedorf

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Clarence Seedorf
Seedorf with Milan in 2008
Personal information
Full name Clarence Clyde Seedorf
Date of birth (1976-04-01) 1 April 1976 (age 43)
Place of birth Paramaribo, Suriname[1]
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 9 12 in)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–1995 Ajax 65 (11)
1995–1996 Sampdoria 32 (3)
1996–1999 Real Madrid 121 (15)
2000–2002 Internazionale 64 (8)
2002–2012 Milan 300 (47)
2012–2014 Botafogo 58 (16)
Total 656 (110)
National team
1994–2008 Netherlands 87 (11)
Teams managed
2014 Milan

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Clarence Clyde Seedorf (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈklɛrəns ˈseːdɔrf]; born 1 April 1976) is a Dutch former footballer and former manager of A.C. Milan regarded by many as one of the best midfielders of his generation. Seedorf is one of the most decorated Dutch players ever.[3] He is considered one of the most successful players in Champions League history, as he is the first and, currently, the only player to have won the Champions League with three different clubs – once with Ajax, in 1995, once with Real Madrid, in 1998, and twice with Milan, in 2003 and 2007.[4][5] In 2004, he was chosen by Pelé as part of the FIFA 100.

Early career

Born in Paramaribo, Suriname,[1] Seedorf was raised in Almere, Flevoland where he moved to when he was two years old.[6] Growing up in a footballing family, with both his younger brothers Jürgen and Chedric Seedorf,[7] and his father former player and talent agent Johann Seedorf, Clarence began his career at the age of 6 in the youth ranks of his local amateur sides VV AS '80 and Real Almere,[8] before being discovered and recruited to the ranks of nearby Dutch Giants AFC Ajax, by "Urgent Scoutingteam"; The talent agency which was set up by Johan Cruyff himself, responsible for recruiting the likes of Frank and Ronald de Boer, Edgar Davids, Robert Witschge and Patrick Kluivert to the club as well.[9] Following in their brothers footsteps, under the guidance of their father and talent agent, his siblings and cousin Stefano Seedorf would later equally join the ranks of Ajax.[10]

Club career


As a product of the famed Ajax Youth Academy, Seedorf started his career as a right midfielder for Ajax during the early 1990s. He made his professional debut on 29 November 1992 against Groningen at the age of 16 years and 242 days, making him the youngest debutant for Ajax ever.[11] He quickly established himself as the first choice on his position under manager Louis van Gaal, and in the 1993–94 season, his second with the club, he helped the Amsterdam side to win the treble, securing the League title, the Dutch Cup and the Dutch Super Cup in the same year.[12] The following season saw Seedorf help his side secure consecutive Super Cup and League titles, as well as help his side to their fourth European Cup trophy, winning the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League defeating Milan in the final.[13] He played a key role in the Champions League final, before being replaced in the 53rd minute by striker Nwankwo Kanu.[14] Patrick Kluivert scored a late goal to lift Ajax to a 1–0 victory over the Italian giants,[15] who Seedorf would later go on to represent for a decade.[16] While at Ajax he was part of a trio known as De kabel, composed of Edgar Davids, Patrick Kluivert and himself. Later Winston Bogarde and Michael Reiziger would be added to the group to make it a quintet, What had started as a friendship was then taken over during the UEFA Euro 1996 to describe the group.[17]


Opting not to extend his contract with Ajax following their European success and the Bosman ruling, Seedorf signed a one-year contract with Italian Serie A side U.C. Sampdoria instead.[18] While not able to obtain any silverware in his first season at his new club, Seedorf appeared in 32 matches, while scoring three goals helping his side to an 8th-place finish in the table, all the while maintaining the form he had demonstrated at Ajax in the past. Seedorf was then able to secure a transfer to Real Madrid C.F., moving to the Spanish Primera división by the end of the season.[19]

Real Madrid

Seedorf moved to Real Madrid in 1996,[20] where he was "virtually ever present in the Blancos team for the first three seasons."[18] In his first season, he helped that team regain the La Liga title; in his second season (1997–98), he played a major role in the team's Champions League success, as Real Madrid secured a 1–0 victory over Juventus in the final,[21] earning his second Champions League title of his career.

Seedorf playing against former club Real Madrid. On the left is Mesut Özil.

While playing for Real Madrid, Seedorf scored a notable long-range goal against Atlético Madrid in 1997.[22] At the end of the 1998–99 season, Real Madrid and Juventus wanted to swap Seedorf for Zinedine Zidane, but the deal didn't go through and the French playmaker waited two more years before joining Real Madrid. Starting from the summer of 1999, Seedorf's role at Real Madrid became less prominent during the short term of Dutch coach Guus Hiddink at the club, and he was eventually transferred back to Italy during the 1999–00 season, this time to Internazionale, for a fee about 44 billion Italian lira (about €23M).[23]


On 24 December 1999, Seedorf moved to Internazionale in a $24.35 million deal after cementing his place in the Real Madrid midfield for over three years.[24] Despite helping the team to the Coppa Italia final later that season, a 2–1 aggregate loss to Lazio where Seedorf scored Inter's only goal,[25] Seedorf could not help bring any major silverware to the club. However, he is remembered by many Inter fans for his two goals against Juventus in a 2–2 draw on 9 March 2002, both of which were superb long-range efforts.[26]


Seedorf with Milan against Arsenal.

After 2 years with Internazionale, Seedorf moved to their city rival Milan in 2002, exchanged with Francesco Coco.[27] He won the Coppa Italia with Milan in 2003, which was the first time they had won the competition in 26 years. In the same season, Seedorf gained his third Champions League medal, to become the first player to win the Champions League with three different clubs.[18] The all Italian final saw Milan beat Juventus on penalties after a 0–0 draw, despite Seedorf failing to convert his own penalty. The following season, 2003–04, Seedorf played a role in the Milan side that won Serie A. It was also Seedorf's fourth national league title win of his career, after his two Dutch title wins with Ajax and his one Spanish win with Real Madrid.

Seedorf played a major role as Milan reached the Champions League final again in 2005, scoring the only goal of the game in their opening group match against Shakhtar Donetsk on 14 September 2004 and appearing in all 13 matches.[28] He started the Istanbul tie against Liverpool in which Milan contrived to lose a 3–0 lead, eventually losing on penalties after a 3–3 draw; Seedorf did not take a spot-kick.[29] Milan also finished runners-up in the Serie A, seven points behind champions Juventus, although Juventus were stripped of the title and Milan docked points for match-fixing.[30]

A match-fixing scandal tarnished Serie A and Milan were weakened by the scandal but were allowed to continue in Europe the following season, which led to their best players staying at the club. Seedorf's role as foil to Kaká became increasingly impressive as the pair combined in style to score and supply the goals which drove Milan past Bayern Munich and Manchester United to another Champions League final, again against Liverpool, beating them 2–1 in Athens, with Seedorf collecting his fourth UEFA Champions League medal. In that same year, Seedorf was a part of a Milan squad which won the FIFA Club World Cup, becoming the first European player to win the trophy with three different clubs (Ajax in 1995 and Real Madrid in 1998). He ended up winning the Silver Ball for the competition.[31]

Clarence Seedorf in action for Milan against Eric Addo of PSV Eindhoven in a friendly game on 3 August 2007 at the Lokomotiv Stadium, Moscow, Russia.

At the end of the 2006–07 season, Seedorf was voted best midfielder of the Champions League. He played his 100th game in the Champions League on 4 December against Celtic. In Milan, Seedorf formed a formidable midfield partnership with Gennaro Gattuso and Andrea Pirlo, which began since the 2002–03 season. This midfield trio was still used in the starting line-up until the 2011–12 season (Pirlo left the Rossoneri in the summer of 2011), although their form had been declining. Under the guidance of coach Carlo Ancelotti, their role was to support an attacking midfielder, whether it be Rivaldo, Rui Costa, Kaká, or Ronaldinho.

Seedorf became the foreigner with the most appearances for Milan following a game against his former club, Sampdoria, which he scored in. At 395 appearances, he passed Nils Liedholm for this historic milestone. During the Sampdoria game, he also became the ninth-highest scoring foreigner for Milan with 58 goals. On 29 March 2010, Seedorf was the target of racist chants from Lazio fans in a 1–1 draw, which led to the Rome club being given a €15,000 fine by the Italian Football Federation. This led the Italy's players' union want racism stamped out in Serie A.[32]

He won his second Scudetto with Milan in the 2010-11 Serie A season, where he once again played a vital role. He scored four goals and made 36 appearances in the 2010–11 season. Seedorf added yet another medal to his trophy cabinet in the first official game of the 2011–12 season, where he played the full 90 minutes in a 2–1 comeback win over rivals Internazionale in the Supercoppa Italiana.[33] He scored the winning goal of Milan's first win of the 2011–12 Serie A campaign, a 1–0 defeat of Cesena on 24 September.[34]

Seedorf was ranked seventh of the 20 best players of the Champions League, a list which was compiled in 2012 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the competition. Many say[who?] that he should be ranked much higher than that because he is the player with the most Champions League titles. The ranking was done by Champions, the official magazine of UEFA.[35] On 14 May, he revealed that he was playing his last match with Milan against Novara that day. He also confirmed that he would continue to play football for another club. On 21 June, Seedorf held a press conference announcing his departure from Milan, stating "I am leaving after 10 wonderful years...I leave a family" after playing for the Rossoneri for a decade and winning two Champions League, two Scudettos and a Coppa Italia.[36][37] Club CEO Adriano Galliani spoke of Seedorf following the player's departure in the highest regard, stating "When Milan played well, which happened often, each and every time it occurred Seedorf played an amazing match. He is a world class player."[38]


On 30 June 2012, Seedorf signed a two-year contract with Botafogo.[39] The veteran midfielder made his debut with the Brazilian side on 22 July against Grêmio.[40][41] On 5 August, Seedorf scored his first goal for Botafogo, curling in a free kick against Atlético-GO. On 5 September Seedorf scored two goals and made an assist against Cruzeiro, helping Botafogo to a 3–1 victory.[42] On 3 February 2013, for the first time on his career, Seedorf scored a hat-trick against Macaé Esporte Clube, in his first game as a starter player in this year. Before that game, Seedorf played the second half against Fluminense and made a good assist to Bolivar, who tied the match.

On 10 March 2013, Seedorf won his first title with the club: 2013 Taça Guanabara - the first round of 2013 Campeonato Carioca. On 5 May, Seedorf won the second round of 2013 Campeonato Carioca - 2013 Taça Rio - against Fluminense. That is also the day of his first official title for Botafogo, the 2013 Campeonato Carioca, as the team won both rounds and no final match was needed.

On 6 June, he scored his 100th goal in National Leagues, 11 with Ajax, 3 with Sampdoria, 15 with Real Madrid, 8 with Internazionale, 47 with Milan and 16 with Botafogo. On 14 January 2014, Seedorf announced his retirement from playing football. Seedorf announced that he is ending his playing career to take up the manager position at AC Milan following the sacking of Massimiliano Allegri.

International career

Due to Surinamese rules against dual citizenship, players who take Dutch citizenship are no longer eligible to represent the Netherlands' former colony. Because of this Seedorf, then of Ajax, played international football for the Netherlands national football team. He received his first call up on 14 December 1994, at the age of 18, against Luxembourg.[43] Seedorf scored on his debut, helping his team to a 5–0 victory in a Euro 1996 qualifying match.[44]

Seedorf was in the Netherlands' squad for the UEFA European Championships in 1996, (where his penalty miss proved decisive in the quarter final shootout defeat to France).[45] He also appeared for the Netherlands at 2000 and 2004, as well as the 1998 FIFA World Cup, reaching the semi-finals in all three of these tournaments.

On 12 November 2006, Seedorf was recalled for the first time since June 2004 as a replacement for the injured Wesley Sneijder. He started and played the full 90 minutes in a 1–1 friendly draw against England. Seedorf won the last of his 87 caps for the Netherlands in 2008.[18] In the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Romania (0–0 at home) and Slovenia (1–0 away win), Seedorf played 4 and 6 minutes respectively. There were doubts on his position within the national team, as Marco van Basten favoured younger players such as Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie. On 13 May 2008, Seedorf announced that he would not take part in Euro 2008, due to his ongoing conflict with Van Basten.[46]

Style of play

Seedorf was a well-rounded, hardworking, and versatile player, who was gifted with strength, pace, stamina, and notable physical attributes, which allowed him to play anywhere in midfield, and contribute both offensively and defensively.[47][48][49] In addition to his athletic characteristics, and his ability to break down opposing plays,[47] he was an elegant, creative player, and an excellent dribbler, possessing excellent technique, ball skills, and vision; he was also an accurate passer and crosser of the ball.[50][51][48] Seedorf was also capable of scoring goals due to his powerful, accurate striking ability from distance.[47][52][53] Despite his physical, tenacious style of play, Seedorf was regarded as a correct player, and was sent off only two times in his entire career.[54]

Managerial career

Seedorf was appointed the new head coach of A.C. Milan on 16 January 2014. On 19 January, Seedorf won his first managerial match against Hellas Verona, with Mario Balotelli scoring the lone goal of the game.[55]

Seedorf was dismissed by AC Milan on 9 June 2014 after just four months on the job. Filippo Inzaghi was named his successor.[56]

Personal life and other work

Seedorf speaks six languages fluently:[57][58][59][60][61][62] Dutch, English,[63] Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Surinamese. He was often seen as a spiritual, intelligent and articulate figure in football,[64] and in a 2011 interview, Seedorf stated that he was studying to obtain a Master's Degree in Business at the prestigious Bocconi University in Milan, Italy;[65] because of this, he earned the nickname "il professore" (the professor) during his time at Milan.[47] Seedorf is married to a Brazilian woman, Luviana Seedorf, with whom he owns a restaurant called Finger's in Milan. They have four children.[66]

Seedorf has dabbled in media-related work during recent years. In 2009, he worked with the New York Times to run a column entitled: Seedorf responds, where once a month he would answer peoples' questions regarding football.[67] He joined the BBC's team covering the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, working as a television pundit[68] He also presented a number of features for the BBC coverage, including one about Robben Island.[69] He also joined the BBC for their Match of the Day Live coverage of the 2012 UEFA European Championship in Poland and Ukraine. Seedorf was widely praised for his contribution to the BBC's coverage, with a Daily Mail article praising his "classy, informed stints in the BBC studio".[70] He has also made appearances on Match of the Day 2 during the English football league season.

Because of his strong connection with the country Suriname where Seedorf was born, he is involved in many social development projects there. He built his own "Clarence Seedorf Stadium" in the district of Para in Suriname. In this stadium the Para Juniors League of Suriname is being held and the teams of the Suri Profs & Brothers play there regularly. With his Champions for Children Foundation he supports projects for good causes in Suriname.[71] For this, Suriname has honoured him to Commandor of the High-Order of the Yellow Star and recently in 2011 the Netherlands also honoured him to Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau (OON).

On 5 June 2009 Seedorf announced at a press conference after a meeting with Nelson Mandela that he had become the Nelson Mandela Foundation's latest Legacy Champion. He joins Patrice Motsepe, Tokyo Sexwale, David Rockefeller, Peggy Dulany and Bill Clinton, who are also members of a select group of philanthropists who are helping to ensure that Mr. Mandela's legacy lives on.

In 2012 and 2014, Seedorf took part in Soccer Aid. A charity match at Old Trafford with former professional players and celebrities. He played for "The Rest of the World" team against England. In 2014, he scored a hat-trick and The Rest of the World won 4–2 and they raised over £4 Million.[72]

Career statistics


As of 9 June 2014
Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1992–93 Ajax Eredivisie 12 1 3 0 3 0 18 1
1993–94 19 4 3 0 2 0 24 4
1994–95 34 6 3 0 11 0 48 6
Total 65 11 9 0 16 0 90 11
1995–96 Sampdoria Serie A 32 3 2 1 - 34 4
Total 32 3 2 1 - 34 4
1996–97 Real Madrid La Liga 38 6 4 0 - 42 6
1997–98 36 6 2 1 11 0 49 7
1998–99 37 3 5 1 10 3 52 7
1999–2000 10 0 0 0 6 0 16 0
Total 121 15 11 2 27 3 159 20
1999–2000 Internazionale Serie A 20 3 5 2 0 0 25 5
2000–01 24 2 5 0 7 3 36 5
2001–02 20 3 2 1 10 0 32 4
Total 64 8 12 3 17 3 93 14
2002–03 Milan Serie A 29 4 3 2 16 1 48 7
2003–04 29 3 6 0 10 0 45 3
2004–05 32 5 4 1 13 1 49 7
2005–06 36 4 2 1 11 1 49 6
2006–07 32 7 5 0 14 3 51 10
2007–08 32 7 0 0 10 3 42 10
2008–09 33 6 1 0 7 0 41 6
2009–10 29 5 0 0 8 1 37 6
2010–11 30 4 2 0 8 0 40 4
2011–12 18 3 3 1 8 0 29 4
Total 300 48 26 5 105 10 431 63
2012 Botafogo Série A 24 8 0 0 0 0 24 8
2013 34 7 0 0 1 1 35 8
Total 58 15 0 0 1 1 59 16
Career Total 654 107 69 11 166 17 889 135
Statistics accurate as of last match played on 8 December 2013.[73]

1 Includes UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches.

2 Includes the Johan Cruijff Shield and Eredivisie playoffs matches.


[74] [75]

Year Apps Goals
1994 1 1
1995 7 3
1996 11 2
1997 7 0
1998 12 1
1999 7 0
2000 10 2
2001 4 1
2002 2 1
2003 7 0
2004 9 0
2005 0 0
2006 1 0
2007 8 0
2008 1 0
Total 87 11

International goals

Scores and results list Netherlands' goal tally first.[76]
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 14 December 1994 De Kuip, Rotterdam  Luxembourg 5–0 5–0 Euro 1996 qualifying
2. 29 March 1995 De Kuip, Rotterdam  Malta 1–0 4–0 Euro 1996 qualifying
3. 11 October 1995 Ta' Qali National Stadium, Attard  Malta 4–0 4–0 Euro 1996 qualifying
4. 15 November 1995 De Kuip, Rotterdam  Norway 1–0 3–0 Euro 1996 qualifying
5. 4 June 1996 De Kuip, Rotterdam  Republic of Ireland 2–1 3–1 Friendly
6. 14 December 1996 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels  Belgium 2–0 3–0 1998 World Cup qualifying
7. 21 February 1998 Orange Bowl, Miami  United States 2–0 2–0 Friendly
8. 7 October 2000 GSP Stadium, Nicosia  Cyprus 1–0 4–0 2002 World Cup qualifying
9. 7 October 2000 GSP Stadium, Nicosia  Cyprus 2–0 4–0 2002 World Cup qualifying
10. 6 October 2001 GelreDome, Arnhem  Andorra 2–0 4–0 2002 World Cup qualifying
11. 16 October 2002 Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Vienna  Austria 1–0 3–0 Euro 2004 qualifying

Managerial statistics

As of 4 July 2014
Team From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Milan 16 January 2014[77] 9 June 2014[56] 22 11 2 9 28 26 +2 50.00
Total 22 11 2 9 28 26 +2 50.00



Real Madrid[78]



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