Marco van Basten is considered one of the greatest players of all time and has won the Ballon d’Or three times, but it wasn’t all good times in a career which was cut short by injury.
The Dutchman has revealed how the career-ending injury affected him both physically and mentally.
Speaking to promote his upcoming autobiography, the former striker looked back on his career and spoke candidly about how it ended.
“I suffered a lot, I experienced a lot of pain, the doctors didn’t help me with the treatments and my ankle kept getting worse,” said Van Basten.
“I spent a lot of time on the sofa, not even able to walk, not wanting people to see me like that.
“I got depressed, it was a very dark period.
In his book, Van Basten doesn’t sugarcoat anything and describes how, after the injury in 1992, he would have to crawl on all fours to the bathroom in the middle of the night, such was the state of his right ankle that even with painkillers it couldn’t bear any weight.
Van Basten has also revealed that he had the chance to join Barcelona in 1988, but he turned down his compatriot Johan Cruyff.
“I told [Cruyff] no, it had only been a season since I arrived in MIlan from Ajax and due to my ankle injury I hadn’t played much,” said Van Basten.
“Also, at that time the best football was played in Italy.
“I wanted to show at Milan how good a player I was and the next two years we won the European Cup.”
After coaching the Dutch national team, Ajax, Heerenveen and AZ Alkmaar, he has given up in this regard due to the emotional distress it causes.
“I will never be a coach again,” he stated.