The Dutch influence on FC Barcelona goes back to the Total Football philosophy established by Dutchman Johan Cruyff both as a legendary Blaugrana player and coach. Since the 1970s, many talented Dutchmen have played for the side. Here we recap the best eleven Dutch players to play for the Catalan giants.
Johan Cruyff (1973-1978)
Sold to Barcelona in 1973 for a then-record transfer fee of US $2 million, the speedy Dutch forward helped Barcelona win its first league triumph since 1960. He also won the European Footballer of the year, which he repeated the following year. He made a total of 148 games at Barcelona, totaling 48 goals but more importantly influenced the modern game with his philosophy on the architecture and space on the field.
Not surprisingly, the mastermind of football is Barca’s winningest coach. From 1988 – 1996, he won the club’s first-ever European Cup, a Cup Winners Cup, four consecutive league titles, and one Copa Del Rey and European Super Cup, along with three Spanish Super Cups.
Johan Neeskens (1974-79)
Following in the footsteps of fellow countryman Johan Cruyff, the Dutch midfielder Johan Neeskens joined the Barcelona side in 1974. He emerged as one of the original box-to-box midfielders, a tireless player who worked hard on both ends of the field. He won a Copa del Rey with the club in 1978 followed by a Cup Winners Cup in 1979.
Patrick Kluivert (1998-2004)
The Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert made 257 appearances with the Barcelona side over six years, scoring 122 times. Tall and physical, the pacy and technical player helped Barcelona win La Liga with coach Louis van Goal whom he played for at Ajax in the early 90s.
Marc Overmars (2000-04)
Once the most expensive Dutch player of all time with his ₤25 million transfer from Arsenal, the speedy Dutch winger played four seasons with Barcelona where he made 97 La Liga appearances and scored 15 goals.
Boudewijn Zenden (1998-2001)
Dutch midfielder Boudewijn Zenden helped Barcelona win back to back La Liga Championships in his first two years with the club. He played a more defensive role behind fellow countryman Marc Overmars.
Edgar Davids (2004 – Loan)
The Dutchman Edgar Davids enjoyed a short stint with the Barcelona side while on loan from Juventus. He made only 18 appearances with the club but as a comprehensive player, helped power the team to second place in La Liga.
Ronald Koeman (1989-95)
Signed in 1989 to play a part of Cruyff's “Dream Team,” the defender scored an incredible 102 goals in his six seasons at Barca, most notably the set-piece goal that won the team’s first European Cup in 1992. The Dutchman finished as a 5-time Spanish Champion, a three-time Spanish Super Cup winner, and one-time Spanish Cup winner. He still holds the La Liga record for 25 consecutive penalties scored using that mighty right boot.
Frank de Boer (1999-2003)
The defensive-midfielder Frank de Boer transferred to Barcelona in 1999 to join former Ajax coach Louis van Gaal after a decade with Ajax where he won five Eredivisie, two KNVB Cups, and the 1994–95 Champions League. However, he only won La Liga title with Barcelona in four seasons and 144 league matches at Nou Camp.
Phillip Cocu (1998-2004)
The defensive “playmaker” midfielder Phillip Cocu captained the side that won La Liga in 1999. During his four year tenure, he appeared in 205 La Liga games and scored 31 club goals.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst (2003-07)
The left-back Giovanni van Bronckhorst appeared in 155 matches with the club, playing an integral role in Barcelona’s La Liga titles in back to back seasons. He also started in all 2005-06 Champions League matches en route to winning the tournament in 2006.
Michael Reiziger (1997-2004)
The defender Michael Reiziger appeared in 249 games for the Blaugrana, becoming the most capped Dutchman to play for the Catalan side. Over a seven-year career, he helped the team win two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey, and a UEFA Super Cup.