Ajax may have stolen the limelight for Dutch clubs in Europe recently but it’s important to remember there are two other superpowers hailing from the
Ajax may have stolen the limelight for Dutch clubs in Europe recently but it’s important to remember there are two other superpowers hailing from the Netherlands.
Alongside Ajax’s four European Cups and one Uefa Cup, PSV Eindhoven have won one of those titles each, while Feyenoord also secured a European Cup and two Uefa Cups.
The most recent of Feyenoord’s Uefa Cup triumphs came in 2002 when Bert van Marwijk’s men went all the way and beat an impressive Borussia Dortmund side containing the likes of Jens Lehmann, Tomas Rosicky and Jan Koller 3-2.
What made that triumph even more pertinent was the fact it came in their very own De Kuip stadium and remains the most recent continental triumph from a Dutch club.
So, what happened to the players who emerged victorious from a thoroughly entertaining final?
Let’s take a look.
Goalkeeper: Edwin Zoetebier
Career path since: PSV, NAC Breda
Zoetebier had initially left Feyenoord for Vitesse in 2000 having been unable to supplant Jerzy Dudek. However, after impressing in Arnhem, he returned to Rotterdam in 2001 as Dudek departed for Liverpool.
Following the 2002 Uefa Cup final, Zoetebier stuck around and played in Feyenoord’s 2002 Uefa Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid before eventually leaving for PSV in 2004. He didn’t feature too often for the Eindhoven giants and ended his career with a two-year spell with NAC Breda between 2006 and 2008.
Right-back: Christian Gyan
Career path since: Excelsior (loan), TPS, Wrexham, RoPS
Gyan replaced Brett Emerton in the starting line-up for the final and remained at Feyenoord all the way until 2008 — with a loan spell at Excelsior in between.
However, the former Ghana international was nothing more than a back-up full-back and departed for Finnish side TPS in 2008. Gyan remarkably took in spells at Wrexham in 2009 and RoPS back in Finland before retiring from professional football in 2010.
Centre-back: Kees van Wonderen
Career path since: Feyenoord
Having joined the club in 1996, Van Wonderen was already a Feyenoord stalwart by the time the 2002 final came around and he remained there until his retirement two years later, with over 200 appearances for the club under his belt — as well as five caps for the Netherlands.
Since retiring, Van Wonderen has managed at various levels of the Dutch youth national team, while he served as the senior side’s assistant manager between 2018 and 2019.
Centre-back: Patrick Paauwe
Career path since: Valenciennes, Borussia Monchengladbach, VVV-Venlo
Van Wonderen’s centre-back partner, Patrick Paauwe, also ended his career with five caps for the Netherlands. However, he retired far later, taking in spells in France and Germany with Valenciennes and Borussia Monchengladbach respectively after leaving Feyenoord in 2006.
Paauwe — who conceded a penalty in the Uefa Cup final with a foul on Marcio Amoroso — returned to the Netherlands with VVV-Venlo in 2009 and played 50 league games for the club before retiring in 2011.
Left-back: Tomasz Rzasa
Career path since: Partizan Belgrade, Heerenveen, ADO Den Haag, Ried
Rzasa had already won the 1999 Johan Cruyjff Shield with Feyenoord before lifting the 2002 Uefa Cup, while he also stuck around for the Uefa Super Cup the following season. The 36-time Poland international left the club in 2003 with 90 league appearances to his name, turning out for the likes of Partizan, Heerenveen, ADO Den Haag and Austrian side Ried before retiring in 2008.
Since hanging up his boots, Rzasa has enjoyed two spells as assistant manager of Lech Poznan where he is now sporting director.
Right midfield: Bonaventure Kalou
Career path since: Auxerre, Paris Saint-Germain, Lens, Al-Jazira Club, Heerenveen
Older brother of Salomon, Bonaventure Kalou spent six seasons playing on the flanks at Feyenoord, bagging an Eredivise title and a Johan Cruijff Shield as well as the Uefa Cup.
The Ivorian left Rotterdam in 2003 and, interestingly, went on to win domestic cups with Auxerre and PSG in France, and with Heerenveen back in the Netherlands before retiring in 2010.
Kalou now serves as mayor of the Ivorian city of Vavoua having been elected in 2018.
Central midfield: Paul Bosvelt
Career path since: Manchester City, Heerenveen
The man who lifted the trophy, Bosvelt was the captain and midfield engine of this Feyenoord side, garnering a reputation as a ruthless midfield enforcer.
He remained with the club until 2003, when he departed for Manchester City, establishing himself as a regular starter with 53 Premier League appearances across two seasons.
A two-year spell back home with Heerenveen followed before Bosvelt retired in 2007. Since then, he’s coached Jong FC Twente and the Netherlands’ U-21 side, while he is now technical manager at Go Ahead Eagles.
Central midfield: Shinji Ono
Career path since: Urawa Reds, VfL Bochum, Shimizu S-Pulse, Western Sydney Wanderers, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, FC Ryuku
Ono provided the assist for Jon Dahl Tomasson’s goal to make it 3-1 to Feyenoord shortly after half-time and became the first-ever Japanese player to win a European trophy.
A supremely talented playmaker who Wesley Sneijder once described as his toughest-ever opponent, Ono remained with Feyenoord until 2005 before returning to former club Urawa Reds in his homeland. From there, Ono embarked on a nomadic career in which he took in spells in Germany and Australia, as well as turning out for several Japanese clubs including FC Ryukyu where he remains at the age of 40.
Left midfield: Robin van Persie
Career path since: Arsenal, Manchester United, Fenerbahce, Feyenoord
A player who needs absolutely no introduction, Robin van Persie only stayed at Feyenoord for another two years before heading over to England and becoming one of the most feared strikers on the planet.
First, he honed his craft with Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, scoring 132 goals, winning the 2005 FA Cup and reaching the 2006 Champions League final with the Gunners before controversially signing for rivals Manchester United in 2012.
His first season at Old Trafford was a huge success, netting 30 goals across all competitions as Sir Alex Ferguson won the Premier League title in his final season as a manager, while Van Persie still managed tallies of 18 and 10 in the next two campaigns, despite United’s decline.
Van Persie left the Red Devils in 2015 for two-year spell in Turkey with Fenerbahce before returning to Feyenoord closing out his career with 25 goals in 45 appearances across all competitions, helping the club to the 2018 KNVB Cup.
A player with a ridiculous highlights reel of wonder goals for club and country, he remains the Netherlands’ men’s record goalscorer to this day, netting 50 times in 102 caps for the national team.
Centre-forward: Jon Dahl Tomasson
Career path since: AC Milan, VfB Stuttgart, Villarreal, Feyenoord
As mentioned, Tomasson — who was named as Man of the Match — added Feyenoord’s third goal of the match in this one and with a move to AC Milan already agreed, it turned out to be his final strike for the club… for the time being.
Although never quite as prolific as he was with Feyenoord, Tomasson played his part in Milan winning a Serie A title, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and a Champions League crown between 2003 and 2004, netting 35 goals across all competitions for the Rossoneri.
Tomasson’s career then took him to Germany and Spain with Stuttgart and Villarreal before returning to Feyenoord in 2008 and netting 21 goals in 42 appearances across all competitions.
He retired in 2011 and to this day remains Denmark’s joint-highest-ever goalscorer with 51 goals, alongside Poul Nielsen. The 43-year-old is currently in charge of Swedish club, Malmo.
Centre-forward: Pierre van Hooijdonk
Career path since: Fenerbahce, NAC Breda, Feyenoord
Having already established himself as one of the most prolific goalscorers in Europe with the likes of Celtic, Nottingham Forest and Benfica, Van Hooijdonk — known for his vicious free-kicks — certainly didn’t let up when he joined Feyenoord in 2001.
The 46-time Netherlands international bagged Feyenoord’s first two goals in the Uefa Cup final and for that reason alone, will forever be etched into the history books of this famous club.
With a remarkable 62 goals in 84 appearances for Feyenoord to his name, Van Hooijdonk departed for Fenerbahce in 2003, where he scored another 35 goals and won two Super Lig titles.
A short spell with NAC Breda followed his success in Turkey before retiring in 2007 after a second spell with Feyenoord, although this time he was nowhere near as prolific, scoring eight goals in 43 games.
Career path since: NAC Breda, Ajax, NAC Breda, RB Salzburg (on loan), Ferencvaros, 1860 Munich, Newcastle United Jets, FC Eindhoven
Leonardo was a bit-part player for Feyenoord until 2005, when the winger departed for NAC Breda for his first of two spells at the club.
The Brazilian was incredibly nomadic, turning out for another six clubs before finally retiring in 2017.
Career path since: Djurgarden (on loan), NAC Breda (on loan), Brondby, Toulouse, Bolton Wanderers, Galatasaray, Norwich City (on loan), Brondby, Orgryte
Elmander only managed three goals in 39 appearances for Feyenoord, although he did manage to make it off the bench during the Uefa Cup final.
The Swedish striker left the club in 2003 and played for no fewer than eight different clubs before retiring in 2017. He’s perhaps best known for his physics-defying goal against Wolves for Bolton Wanderers in 2010.
Easy as 1️⃣, 2️⃣, 3️⃣
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 3, 2019
Ferry de Haan
Career path since: Excelsior
Centre-back De Haan was brought on in the final five minutes of the final as Van Marwijk looked to see the game out. He left the club that summer to return to former club and Rotterdam rivals, Excelsior, before retiring in 2007.
Since 2012, he’s served as Excelsior’s general manager.
Unused subs: Henk Timmer, Mauricio Aros, Pieter Collen, Igor Korneyev