Football Features

Forgotten PSV players: from Champions League record holder to four-time Premier League winner

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 15:30, 14 December 2023

PSV Eindhoven are the second-most decorated club in Dutch football history.

Since its founding in 1913 as a team for Philips employees, the Eindhoven club have gone on to win 24 league titles, 11 KNVB Beker crowns and the European Cup in 1988.

A host of football who’s who have plied their footballing trade at the Philips Stadion over the years including such luminaries as Ruud Gullit, Memphis Depay, Ronaldo, Dries Mertens, Romario, Arjen Robben and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

But there are some equally big or important names to have donned that famous red-and-white jersey, who may have fallen under the radar. We’re here to remember them.

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1. DaMarcus Beasley

PSV appearances: 80

To date, only six players have played more times for the United States men’s national team (USMNT) than DaMarcus Beasley, who began his professional football journey at LA Galaxy before a stint at fellow MLS franchise Chicago Fire which subsequently led him to enter PSV’s radar.

Between 2004 and 2007, Beasley made no fewer than 56 league appearances for the Eindhoven-based club, subsequently winning back-to-back Eredivisie titles and registering 10 goals. During his tenure in the Netherlands, the Indiana-born winger joined Manchester City on a season-long loan, before ultimately leaving for Glasgow Rangers after three years. Beasley ultimately wound down his career at Mexican outfit Puebla and Houston Dynamo back home, retiring in 2020.

2. Andrés Guardado

PSV appearances: 102

Already familiar with European football, having represented Deportivo La Coruña, Valencia and Bayer Leverkusen albeit on a brief loan, PSV acquired the services of Mexican international Andrés Guardado initially in 2014 before signing him permanently the following year.

Guardado immediately became a fan favourite thanks to his combative display and infectious work rate. With his presence in Phillip Cocu’s midfield, the Mexican helped PSV secure consecutive league titles before completing a move to Real Betis in 2017 where he continues to play his football.

3. Eidur Gudjohnsen

PSV appearances: 15

Given the number of appearances he made it’s fair to conclude that Eidur Gudjohnsen enjoyed a cup of coffee at PSV before moving to Bolton from where Chelsea picked him up and the rest is history.

During his brief sojourn in Eindhoven — where he called Ronaldo a teammate — the Icelandic forward registered three goals across 13 league matches. The aforementioned phenomenon moved onto Barcelona in 1997, for a then-world record fee, and Gudjohnsen eventually followed his path but not for another decade and not before winning two Premier League titles.

4. Atiba Hutchinson

PSV appearances: 115

It won’t be long before Atiba Hutchinson succeeds Julian de Guzman as Canada’s most capped international. The 38-year-old midfielder moved to PSV from Copenhagen in 2010 and immediately held down a regular starting berth. Hutchinson, who is part of the all-time Canada XI men’s team, left for greener pastures in 2013 when Beşiktaş called and he’s lifted three Süper Lig titles since relocating to Istanbul.

5. Patrick Kluivert

PSV appearances: 21

Direct transfers between PSV and their eternal championship rivals Ajax are more commonplace than you think. Both clubs have shared many great players such as Patrick Kluivert, who began at the Amsterdammers before embarking on a stellar career.

Still the youngest Champions League final goalscorer (doing so aged 18 years and 327 days in Ajax’s 1-0 win over AC Milan in 1995), Kluivert returned to Eredivisie football in 2006 when PSV took a chance on him, but he would go on to net just three goals across 16 league outings.

Kluivert soon left for Lille and since hanging up his boots he transitioned into coaching and can be found today running Barcelona’s esteemed youth set-up. His familiarity with the Catalan giants was forged during an illustrious spell between 1998 and 2004 when he scored over 100 goals.

6. Park Ji-sung

PSV appearances: 119

The success of South Korea at their home World Cup finals in 2002 opened the door for many of their star players to ply their trade in Europe. Under the leadership of legendary PSV manager Guus Hiddink, South Korea reached the semi-finals and when he returned for a second tenure in Eindhoven he brought talented forward Park Ji-sung with him.

Park ultimately made 65 league appearances for PSV but most notably played a key role in the Dutch club nearly reaching the 2005 Champions League final. Manchester United were tracking him closely and the hardworking midfielder joined Sir Alex Ferguson’s team that summer, becoming synonymous with more big European nights including famously man-marking AC Milan playmaker Andrea Pirlo in a key fixture.

Years ater in his autobiography, Pirlo remembered that night, saying: “At Milan, he (Sir Alex Ferguson) unleashed Park Ji-sung to shadow me. He rushed about at the speed of an electron. He’d fling himself at me, his hands all over my back, trying to intimidate me. He’d look at the ball and not know what it was for.

“They’d programmed him to stop me. His devotion to the task was almost touching. Even though he was a famous player, he consented to being used as a guard dog.”

Ferguson himself even once described Park as the most “underrated” player he ever managed, alongside Brian McClair and Ronny Johnsen.

After leaving Old Trafford with four Premier Leagues and a Champions Laegue, he briefly spent time at Queens Park Rangers before rejoining PSV where he played his final minutes as a pro.

7. Abel Xavier

PSV appearances: 27

Before gracing the Premier League with his bleached-blonde hairstyle and matching beard, former Everton and Liverpool defender Abel Xavier was on PSV’s books. He joined the Dutch giants from Real Oviedo but would make fewer than 20 league appearances.

After leaving England Xavier represented Galatasaray, Hannover and Roma before signing with Middlesbrough though that lasted for just two seasons. His near two-decade career came to an end at LA Galaxy where he shared a locker room with David Beckham, retiring in 2008.

8. Oleksandr Zinchenko

PSV appearances: 17

For a while, it seemed that Oleksandr Zinchenko was becoming a regular fixture in Pep Guardiola’s team, but the Manchester City boss seldom used the multifunctional Ukrainian international before he relocated to Arsenal.

Before establishing himself in Man City’s first-team squad Zinchenko, like so many before him, enjoyed a loan spell overseas, and given the relationship between Cocu and Guardiola PSV was deemed the perfect location. Zinchenko’s time in Eindhoven only lasted one season, as he featured 12 times in the Eredivisie which saw PSV finish third behind Ajax and Feyenoord.