Davids in 2007
|Full name||Edgar Steven Davids|
|Date of birth||13 March 1973|
|Place of birth||Paramaribo, Suriname|
|Height||1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|2004||→ Barcelona (loan)||18||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
After beginning his career with Ajax, winning several domestic and international titles, he subsequently played in Italy for Milan, and later enjoyed a successful spell with Juventus, before being loaned out to Barcelona in 2004. He went on to play for Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur before returning to Ajax. Having struggled with injuries for two years, Davids returned to competitive football during a brief spell with Crystal Palace before retiring at the age of 37. In 2012, he was appointed player-manager at the English League Two club Barnet. He resigned by mutual agreement as manager in January 2014. He was capped 74 times by the Netherlands at international level, scoring six goals, and represented his country at the FIFA World Cup (once) and the UEFA European Championship (three times).
One of the greatest and most recognisable players of his generation, Davids often stood out on the football field due to his dreadlocked hair and the protective goggles he wore due to glaucoma. A combative and energetic, yet creative and skilful midfielder, Davids was nicknamed "The Pitbull" by Louis van Gaal because of his marking ability, aggression, and hard tackling style of play. In 2004, he was one of the players chosen by Pelé to feature in the FIFA 100, his list of the world's greatest living footballers.
Davids was born in Suriname and is of Afro-Surinamese and partial Jewish descent from his maternal grandmother. The family moved to the Netherlands when Davids was an infant. His cousin Lorenzo is also a footballer.
After being rejected on two previous occasions by the club, Davids started his career at the age of 12 with Ajax. He made his first team debut on 6 September 1991 in a 5–1 home win over RKC Waalwijk. He helped the Amsterdam club to three domestic Eredivisie titles, as well as continental success with the 1992 UEFA Cup and the 1995 UEFA Champions League. In the 1996 UEFA Champions League final, he missed Ajax's first penalty in the shoot-out, which they ultimately lost to Juventus. While at Ajax, Davids was nicknamed "The Pitbull" by Ajax manager Louis van Gaal due to his fierce style of play in the team's midfield.
Milan and Juventus
At the start of the 1996–97 season, Davids moved to Italy to play for Milan. After an unsuccessful spell where he failed to establish himself in the first team, he moved on to league rivals Juventus in December 1997 for a £5.3 million transfer fee. He soon became a permanent first team member in the midfield, usually playing on the left flank or in the centre, as a defensive midfielder, forming a notable midfield partnership alongside French playmaker Zinedine Zidane. Six successful years in Turin followed, with Davids helping the side to the Serie A title in 1998, 2002 and 2003, as well as two Supercoppa Italiana and the UEFA Intertoto Cup. Juventus manager Marcello Lippi once described him as "my one-man engine room".
Davids was often inspirational in Europe, playing 15 times as the club made it all the way to the 2002–03 Champions League final before losing to Milan on penalties. He had also previously managed to reach the Champions League final with Juventus in 1998, followed by a semi-final finish during the 1998–99 season, as well as reaching the 2002 Coppa Italia Final.
Davids joined Barcelona on loan in January 2004 from Juventus. Joining midway through a season where the club was struggling in mid-table and recently appointed manager Frank Rijkaard was under considerable pressure, Davids led Barça's successful resurgence of form which saw them finishing second to Valencia in La Liga. Davids' arrival has been cited as the catalyst for the Catalan club's dominance of Spanish and European football during the mid-to-late 2000s (decade), with Barcelona winning La Liga the following season (after five years without winning the league title) and a La Liga and Champions League double in 2005–06.
Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur
In the summer of 2004, Davids permanently moved on to Italian club Inter Milan on a three-year contract. When Inter terminated the remaining years of his contract in August 2005, he moved to England on a free transfer to play for Tottenham Hotspur. He had a successful stay at Tottenham and instantly became a fan favourite. His first and only goal was in a 2–1 away win against Wigan Athletic. Davids played for Spurs in the 2005–06 and the 2006–07 seasons, with the club finishing fifth in both seasons.
Return to Ajax
Davids signed once more for Ajax on 28 January 2007 and played his first match against club rivals Feyenoord on 4 February. After the mid-season switch, Davids proved his value for the Ajax team again. He was one of the key midfielders in the run for the Dutch championship that was lost on one single goal to PSV on the final day of the league. He also played a major role in Ajax's cup campaign. He secured the KNVB Cup for Ajax by scoring the final penalty in a thrilling penalty shoot-out against AZ. Prior to the start of the 2007–08 season, Davids' leg was broken in a pre-season friendly against Go Ahead Eagles, sidelining him for around three months. In May 2008, Davids said he would leave Ajax when his contract expired on 30 June.
Davids played against the LA Galaxy on 6 December 2008 in an exhibition match held at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, as part of an Oceania XI All-Star team, despite the fact he is not from Oceania and has never played for an Oceanic club or national team. Davids was in contract negotiations with English Championship club Leicester City from 22 October 2009, however he failed to make a decision for over a week and the club withdrew their offer on 30 October.
On 20 August 2010, Davids agreed a pay-as-you-play deal with English Championship club Crystal Palace. He made his debut on 24 August 2010 at left-back in the Second Round of the League Cup against Portsmouth. On 8 November 2010, he announced his departure from the club, stating it was "one of the greatest experiences of my life".
Davids was an integral part of the Netherlands national team since his debut on 20 April 1994 in Tilburg against the Republic of Ireland (0–1), though he has not won any major tournaments for the Oranje.
Nonetheless, Davids remained appreciated by Hiddink, who included him in the Dutch squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. Davids' most notable performance for the national team came in the second round match against FR Yugoslavia. He scored the winning goal in the last minute of the game and ensured that the Dutch team went through to the next round to meet Argentina. The Netherlands eventually finished fourth overall and Davids was named to the official FIFA "Team of the Tournament".
In 1999, Davids began wearing protective glasses following surgery in his right eye caused by glaucoma, which developed in 1995 following eye injuries. Davids first wore them on 4 September 1999 in a friendly match against Belgium. On 17 May 2001, Davids was suspended by FIFA when he tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid, nandrolone.
Davids played in the Euro 2000 when he was named for the UEFA "Team of the Tournament". The Netherlands reached the semi-finals and played against Italy in a thrilling game that ended up being decided in Italy's favour with a penalty shootout.
During the Netherlands' Euro 2004 qualifying matches, Davids scored the Netherlands' first qualifying goal in their opening 3–0 victory against Belarus and subsequently bossed the midfield in five of the remaining seven Group 3 fixtures and both legs of the play-off victory against Scotland.
After Euro 2004, new national team coach Marco van Basten appointed Davids as captain of the team. However, lack of first team football at his club Inter meant Davids also lost his place in the national team in October 2004, thus losing the captain's armband in the process, which was later handed to goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. At the latter stages of the qualifying series for the 2006 World Cup in October 2005, he was recalled back into the national team, though not as captain. He fell out of the picture again shortly after, thereby missing out on the Dutch squad for the World Cup.
Style of play
A quick, hard-working, tenacious team player, gifted with power and pace, as well as exceptional physical strength and stamina in spite of his diminutive stature. Davids was renowned for his dynamic and combative style of play, tight marking of opponents, and ability to break down opposition plays as a defensive midfielder. In addition to his ball-winning ability, as well as his physical and athletic attributes, Davids was also a highly talented and creative player, who was known for his outstanding technique, vision, acceleration, close control, quick footwork, and ball-juggling skills; his technical ability and prowess at street soccer and as a freestyle footballer earned him the nickname "The Mayor of the Street" in his youth. Davids was also a powerful striker of the ball, as well as being an accurate passer and crosser with his excellent left foot, which enabled him to create chances for teammates after winning back possession. His tactical intelligence, awareness, and ability to read the game, combined with his speed, energy, tackling, vision, and dribbling ability, allowed him to start counter-attacks after winning back possession and also enabled him to carry the ball forward, make attacking runs, and contribute to his team's offensive play by linking up the defence and the attack effectively. His versatility and wide range of skills thus enabled him to be deployed in several other midfield positions throughout his career; he was capable of playing as a left midfielder, or as a central or box-to-box midfielder, or even as a left back, and in his youth, was also deployed as an attacking midfielder, or as a second striker on occasion. Regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, although he received acclaim for his playing ability and leadership as a footballer, Davids also gained a degree of infamy due to his strong character, temper, and outspokenness, which often led him to be involved in conflicts with his managers; he also struggled with injuries throughout his career. Due to his aggressive and hard-tackling playing style, Davids earned several nicknames throughout his career, such as "The Piranha", "Tubarão" (The Shark), and most notably, "The Pitbull".
Davids has appeared in commercials for the American sportswear company Nike. In 1996, he starred in a Nike commercial titled "Good vs Evil" in a gladiatorial game set in a Roman amphitheatre. Appearing alongside football players from around the world, including Ronaldo, Paolo Maldini, Eric Cantona, Patrick Kluivert and Jorge Campos, they defend "the beautiful game" against a team of demonic warriors, before it culminates with Cantona striking the ball and destroying evil.
In a global Nike advertising campaign in the run-up to the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, Davids starred in a "Secret Tournament" commercial (branded by Nike as "Scorpion KO") directed by Terry Gilliam, appearing alongside football players such as Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho, Francesco Totti, Luís Figo and Japanese star Hidetoshi Nakata, with former player Eric Cantona the tournament "referee".
Davids features in EA Sports' FIFA video game series, and was selected to appear on the cover of FIFA Football 2003 alongside Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs and Brazilian international Roberto Carlos. The online game League of Legends by Riot Games used Davids' likeness for a character skin called Striker Lucian without permission. Davids sued, and Dutch courts ruled that Riot Games must compensate Davids a percentage of their earnings from the skin.
In June 2011, Davids was elected to the new supervisory board at Ajax alongside Johan Cruyff.
Since 2010, Davids had been living in North London with his partner and had been participating in street football as well as managing Sunday league amateur side Brixton United. On 11 October 2012, Davids joined League Two side Barnet in a player-manager role, alongside Mark Robson. The next day, on his managerial debut for Barnet, his side lost 4–1 at Underhill to Plymouth Argyle which Davids had left himself out of the squad for this League Two game. They followed this up with a 4–0 home win over Northampton Town where Davids played the full match, captaining the team and being voted Man of the Match. In November, he started against Morecambe which Barnet lost 4–1. Near the end of December 2012, following the departure of Robson, Davids took charge of the club by himself. Davids scored his first goal for Barnet in February 2013 in a 2–0 home victory over Southend United.
In March 2013, on the return journey from a defeat at Accrington Stanley, Davids sent the Barnet team coach back to pick up 36 supporters whose coach had broken down on the motorway and take them to the next service station.
Despite initially guiding Barnet off the foot of League Two, and lifting them out of the relegation zone, Barnet dropped back into the bottom two on the final day of the 2012–13 season, following a defeat to Northampton Town, and were relegated out of the Football League at the expense of AFC Wimbledon who were able to escape by beating Fleetwood Town. On 21 May 2013, it was announced that Davids would remain in charge of Barnet for the club's 2013–14 Conference Premier season. In July 2013, Davids announced his decision to wear the number 1 shirt for the 2013–14 season, a shirt number traditionally worn by goalkeepers, saying that he intends to "set a trend" of midfielders wearing the number 1 shirt.
Discipline was a major problem for Davids in the 2013–14 season. He was booked in each of the first eight league games he played, and he was sent off three times in those first eight games. There was also controversy when it emerged that he would not attend away games that required an overnight stay, leaving assistant manager Ulrich Landvreugd to take charge. In December 2013, Davids considered retiring from football after being sent off for the third time in the season in Barnet's 2–1 defeat by Salisbury City.
In June 2014, Southern Counties East Football League side Greenwich Borough announced they were "in advanced talks" with Davids, with chairman Perry Skinner stating that he was "70% sure he'll come on board". The following month it was announced the club's attempt to sign Davids had been unsuccessful.
Davids won a lawsuit filed in a Dutch court against League of Legends developer Riot Games for using his likeness in an in-game association football-themed skin for the champion Lucian without his permission.
|Inter Milan||2004–05||Serie A||14||0||4||0||–||5||0||–||23||0|
|Tottenham Hotspur||2005–06||Premier League||31||1||–||–||–||–||31||1|
- Scores and results list the Netherlands goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Davids goal.
|1||29 June 1998||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse, France||FR Yugoslavia||2–1||2–1||1998 FIFA World Cup|
|2||31 March 1999||Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands||Argentina||1–0||1–1||Friendly|
|3||4 September 1999||De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands||Belgium||1–2||5–5||Friendly|
|5||21 August 2002||Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway||Norway||1–0||1–0||Friendly|
|6||7 September 2002||Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands||Belarus||1–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying|
- Eredivisie: 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96
- KNVB Cup: 1992–93, 2006–07
- Johan Cruyff Shield: 1995
- UEFA Champions League: 1994–95
- UEFA Cup: 1991–92
- UEFA Super Cup: 1995
- Intercontinental Cup: 1995
- Serie A: 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03
- Supercoppa Italiana: 2002, 2003
- Coppa Italia: 2004–05
- UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 2000
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1998
- FIFA 100
- List of select Jewish football (association; soccer) players
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Edgar Davids.|
- Edgar Davids – FIFA competition record (archived)
- Edgar Davids at Soccerbase
- Voetbal International profile at the Wayback Machine (archived 20 October 2012)
- KNVB national team profile at the Wayback Machine (archived 11 October 2006) (in Dutch)
- FootballDatabase career profile and stats at the Wayback Machine (archived 12 July 2010)
- Edgar Davids at Wereld van Oranje (in Dutch)
- Profile at www.voetbalstats.nl
- Edgar Davids his fashion label Monta Street Soccer
Frank de Boer
| Netherlands captain
Edwin van der Sar