Frank de Boer
Franciscus de Boer (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈfrɑŋg də ˈbuːr]; born 15 May 1970) is a Dutch football manager who was most recently the head coach of the Netherlands national team. A former defender, De Boer spent most of his professional playing career with Ajax, winning five Eredivisie titles, two KNVB Cups, three Super Cups, one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Champions League, and one Intercontinental Cup. He later spent five years at Barcelona, where he won the 1998–99 La Liga title, followed by short spells at Galatasaray, Rangers, Al-Rayyan and Al-Shamal before retiring.
De Boer as manager of Ajax in 2011
|Full name||Franciscus de Boer|
|Date of birth||15 May 1970|
|Place of birth||Hoorn, Netherlands|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
De Boer is the second-most capped outfield player in the history of the Netherlands national team, with 112 caps. He captained Oranje to the semi-finals of both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000. He is the twin brother of Ronald de Boer, with whom he was a teammate at Ajax, Barcelona, Rangers, Al-Rayyan, Al-Shamal and the Netherlands national team.
After retiring from playing, De Boer went into management with the Ajax youth team and as assistant to Bert van Marwijk with the Netherlands national team. In December 2010, he took over as manager of Ajax and went on to win the Eredivisie title in his first season. In 2013, he received the Rinus Michels Award for manager of the year in the Netherlands after leading Ajax to their third successive Eredivisie title. The following year, he became the first manager to win four consecutive Eredivisie titles. He then had brief spells managing in Serie A with Internazionale in 2016, Crystal Palace in the Premier League in 2017, and Atlanta United in MLS in 2019 and 2020, before becoming the head coach of the Netherlands national team. On 29 June 2021, De Boer stepped down as the head coach of the Netherlands.
De Boer began his career as a left back at Ajax before switching to centre-back, a position he made his own for many years in the national team. He won both the 1991–92 UEFA Cup and 1994–95 UEFA Champions League while at Ajax, in addition to five Eredivisie titles and two KNVB Cups. However, after signing a six-year contract extension with Ajax for the 1998–99 season, he and his twin brother Ronald took successful legal action to have it voided. Ajax had a verbal agreement that if a lucrative offer for one brother came by, he would be released provided the other stayed. Ajax, however, apparently backed down on that agreement after floating the club on the stock market and pledging to shareholders that it would hold both of the De Boers and build around them a team to recapture the Champions League.
In January 1999, Frank and Ronald de Boer signed for Spanish La Liga club Barcelona for £22 million, joining their former Ajax manager Louis van Gaal at the Camp Nou. After winning the 1998–99 La Liga title, they were unable to repeat their earlier triumphs. In 2000, Van Gaal was sacked by Barcelona and Frank suffered the ignominy of testing positive for the banned substance nandrolone a year later. He was suspended but he was reinstated after a successful appeal.
De Boer briefly moved to Galatasaray in the summer of 2003 before joining his brother at Rangers in January 2004. He made his Rangers debut in a 1–0 win away at Partick Thistle, but in his second appearance for the club he missed the decisive penalty in the shootout as Rangers lost to Hibernian in the Scottish League Cup semi-final. He made a total of 17 appearances for Rangers, scoring two goals against Aberdeen and Dundee. The De Boer brothers left Rangers after UEFA Euro 2004 to play the rest of their football careers in Qatar with Al-Rayyan. De Boer announced his retirement from football in April 2006.
Having represented his national team 112 times, he was the most capped player in the history of the Netherlands national team, until Edwin van der Sar surpassed him. De Boer made his debut for the Netherlands in September 1990 against Italy.
De Boer also played for the Netherlands in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, and the 1992, 2000 and 2004 UEFA European Championships. He is well-remembered for the arching 60-yard pass which allowed Dennis Bergkamp to score the last-minute goal that eliminated Argentina in the quarter-finals of the 1998 World Cup. During Euro 2000, hosted in his home country and Belgium, De Boer reached another semi-final with the Dutch team. De Boer missed an important penalty kick in the first half of the semi-finals against 10-man Italy and another in the penalty shootout, which led to the Netherlands' elimination from the tournament.
On 29 March 2003, in a home match against Czech Republic, De Boer became the first Dutch male footballer to gain 100 caps. He ended his international career after an injury forced him to be replaced in a quarter-final match with Sweden at Euro 2004. The injury ruled him out from the semi-final match against Portugal, which the Netherlands lost 2–1.
Style of play
A talented and well-rounded world-class defender, in addition to his defensive skills, De Boer was also known for his pace, technical ability, accurate passing, and leadership, which enabled him to carry the ball out of defence, play it out from the back, or contribute to his team's offensive play by initiating attacks and creating chances for strikers with long balls. A versatile, intelligent, and elegant left-footed defender, with an ability to read the game and intercept loose balls, he was capable of playing both on the left and in the centre, and was even deployed as a sweeper. He was also a dangerous set-piece taker, renowned for his accurate bending free kicks from anywhere around the penalty area.
In 2007, De Boer took up a coaching role at his former club Ajax where he was in charge of the club's youth sector. During the 2010 World Cup, he was the assistant of the Netherlands national football team to manager Bert van Marwijk, together with retired player Phillip Cocu. The Dutch team reached the final of the tournament, losing to Spain.
On 6 December 2010, after the resignation of Martin Jol, De Boer was appointed caretaker manager of Ajax until the winter break. His first game in charge was a Champions League match against Milan at the San Siro, a match Ajax won 2–0 through goals from Demy de Zeeuw and Toby Alderweireld. De Boer then went on to help Ajax become champions of the Eredivisie for the 2010–11 season in a 3–1 home victory over Twente, the champions of the previous year, on the final matchday, making the first year of his professional coaching career a golden one. "I couldn't have wished for a more beautiful birthday present", said De Boer, as the club's 30th championship was won on his 41st birthday.
In two-and-a-half years at the helm of Ajax, De Boer won three championships, making eight in total (when including the five that he won as a player). According to reports, De Boer was offered the chance to interview for the Liverpool job but turned it down to remain with Ajax. "I am honoured by the request [from Liverpool] but I have only just started with Ajax", he said. In 2013, De Boer received the Rinus Michels Award for manager of the year in the Netherlands after leading Ajax to their third successive Eredivisie title.
On 27 April 2014, De Boer won his fourth successive Eredivisie title with Ajax, the first manager ever to achieve this in the Dutch league. Moreover, it marked the first time Ajax has ever won four successive Eredivisie titles. De Boer has now won a total of nine Eredivisie championships with Ajax as a player and manager, another record; Johan Cruyff, Sjaak Swart and Jack Reynolds all won eight Eredivisie championships with Ajax. Ajax finished the 2014–15 Eredivisie in second position, a massive 17 points behind champions PSV.
On 9 August 2016, after the departure of Roberto Mancini, De Boer signed a three-year contract with Internazionale for the start of the 2016–17 season. De Boer's first match in charge was Inter's final pre-season friendly, a 2–0 win against Celtic on 13 August, played on neutral ground at Thomond Park, Republic of Ireland.
The club management board also approved expensive signings João Mário and Gabriel Barbosa for the team and De Boer (they were in fact linked to Mancini and Inter in July), and the return to Turkey of recent acquisition Caner Erkin in the last days of transfer window. Gabriel, however, was rarely used in Serie A matches and could not be registered in European competitions due to a penalty imposed on Inter for breaching UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations in previous seasons.
De Boer's first competitive match was a 2–0 away loss to Chievo on 21 August. After the match, De Boer was criticized for using a three-man defence, a style that he had never used while at Ajax. Milan-based newspaper Corriere della Sera went as far as calling Inter's performance a "disaster". Fortunes soon turned, however, as Inter drew 1–1 against Palermo on 28 August, before winning three games in a row, against Pescara, title-holders Juventus and Empoli. The win against Juventus was highly praised, with De Boer being lauded for substituting Éder for Ivan Perišić, who provided the winning goal. Inter's form would not last long, as the club would go on to lose against Roma, Cagliari and Atalanta.
Inter also struggled in the UEFA Europa League under De Boer, as they lost the opening match 0–2 at home against Israeli team Hapoel Be'er Sheva on 15 September, and 3–1 against Sparta Prague on 29 September. Inter would then go on to finish last in their group with a total of six points, with three points under De Boer and another three under his successor.
Following a run of four defeats in the last five Serie A matches, which left Inter in 12th place in Serie A, De Boer was sacked on 1 November, having been in charge for only 85 days. His last match was a 1–0 loss to Sampdoria on 30 October. Ironically, during a press interview in the annual general meeting of the shareholders of Internazionale on 28 October, CEO Michael Bolingbroke had confirmed that the club was 100% backing De Boer. (Bolingbroke himself resigned a few days later. Liu Jun, vice-president of sister company Suning Sports, replaced Bolingbroke.)
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De Boer argued that he "needed more time" in order to make a mark as manager at Inter, and thanked his fans on his Twitter profile for the support. He was replaced by former Lazio manager Stefano Pioli on 8 November, the ninth manager Inter have appointed since winning the Treble in 2010 under José Mourinho. Following Pioli's initial struggles at Inter, De Boer has hit back at the lack of leadership following Suning's takeover of Inter, which he credits for the lack of trust he was given while there.
On 26 June 2017, De Boer was announced as the new manager of Premier League side Crystal Palace, replacing the recently resigned Sam Allardyce. He signed a three-year deal with the South London club, but was sacked 10 weeks later when Palace lost their first four league matches of the season without scoring a single goal – the first team in 93 years to have begun a top-flight season in such a fashion. He left having managed the team for only 450 minutes of game time of a Premier League team, making it the shortest reign of the Premier League era (in terms of number of matches, rather than number of days). De Boer's only win came in an EFL Cup second-round game, in which Crystal Palace won 2–1 against Ipswich Town. He was replaced by Roy Hodgson.
Whilst at the club, De Boer attempted to implement a possession-based style of play; after his sacking, he criticised the club's players for their resistance to his approach, arguing that the club had signed only two players to fit his philosophy. Palace winger Wilfried Zaha commented on De Boer's brief time at the club, stating "There wasn't really the right mixture [of players] for the way we wanted to play."
Referencing De Boer's stint at Crystal Palace, José Mourinho described De Boer as 'the worst manager in the history of the Premier League'.
On 23 December 2018, De Boer was announced as the head coach of Major League Soccer side Atlanta United, succeeding Gerardo "Tata" Martino to become the second head coach in the club's history. In his first season, the team won both the U.S. Open Cup and Campeones Cup, while in MLS action finishing second in the Eastern Conference and reaching the Eastern Conference final.
On 23 September 2020, the KNVB announced that De Boer would be the new manager of the country's national football team, signing a contract until the end of 2022. On 11 November 2020, after a 1–1 draw with Spain, De Boer became the first ever Netherlands manager to fail to win any of his first four fixtures.
|Rangers||2003–04||Scottish Premier League||15||2||1||0||1||0||–||17||2|
|Al-Rayyan||2004–05||Qatar Stars League||16||5||–||16||5|
|Al-Shamal||2005–06||Qatar Stars League||1||0||–||1||0|
- Scores and results list Netherlands' goal tally first.
|1.||5 June 1991||Helsingin olympiastadion, Helsinki, Finland||Finland||UEFA Euro 1992 qualifying|
|2.||9 November 1996||Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands||Wales||1998 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|3.||29 March 1997||Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands||San Marino|
|5.||30 April 1997||Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino|
|6.||1 June 1998||Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands||Paraguay||Friendly|
|7.||4 June 2000||Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne, Switzerland||Poland|
|8.||11 June 2000||Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands||Czech Republic||UEFA Euro 2000|
|9.||21 June 2000||France|
|10.||15 November 2000||Estadio Olímpico, Seville, Spain||Spain||Friendly|
|11.||2 June 2001||Lilleküla staadion, Tallinn, Estonia||Estonia||2002 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|12.||27 March 2002||Stadion Feijenoord, Rotterdam, Netherlands||Spain||Friendly|
|13.||19 November 2003||Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands||Scotland||UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying|
|Ajax||6 December 2010||11 May 2016||263||158||58||47||557||263||+294||60.08|
|Inter Milan||9 August 2016||1 November 2016||14||5||2||7||15||19||−4||35.71|
|Crystal Palace||26 June 2017||11 September 2017||5||1||0||4||2||8||−6||20.00|
|Atlanta United||23 December 2018||24 July 2020||55||31||5||19||91||66||+25||56.36|
|Netherlands||23 September 2020||29 June 2021||15||8||4||3||31||15||+16||53.33|
- Eredivisie (5): 1989–90, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1997–98
- KNVB Cup (2): 1992–93, 1997–98
- Johan Cruijff Shield (3): 1993, 1994, 1995
- UEFA Champions League: 1994–95
- UEFA Cup: 1991–92
- UEFA Super Cup: 1995
- Intercontinental Cup: 1995
- La Liga: 1998–99
- Emir of Qatar Cup: 2005
- Eredivisie: 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14
- Johan Cruyff Shield: 2013
- Campeones Cup: 2019
- U.S. Open Cup: 2019
- List of footballers with 100 or more caps
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