Giovanni van Bronckhorst

Giovanni Christiaan van Bronckhorst OON (born 5 February 1975), also known by his nickname Gio, is a Dutch former footballer who recently coached Guangzhou R&F in the Chinese Super League. Formerly a midfielder, he moved to left back later in his career.[2][3]

Giovanni van Bronckhorst
Van Bronckhorst in 2017
Personal information
Full name Giovanni Christiaan van Bronckhorst[1]
Date of birth (1975-02-05) 5 February 1975
Place of birth Rotterdam, Netherlands
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Position(s) Midfielder / Left back
Youth career
1981–1982 LMO Rotterdam
1982–1993 Feyenoord
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993–1998 Feyenoord 103 (22)
1993–1994 → RKC Waalwijk (loan) 12 (2)
1998–2001 Rangers 73 (13)
2001–2003 Arsenal 42 (2)
2003–2007 Barcelona 105 (5)
2007–2010 Feyenoord 88 (8)
Total 422 (52)
National team
1996–2010 Netherlands 106 (6)
Teams managed
2011–2015 Feyenoord (assistant)
2015–2019 Feyenoord
2020 Guangzhou R&F
Representing  Netherlands
Men's football
FIFA World Cup
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

During his club career, Van Bronckhorst played for RKC Waalwijk, Feyenoord, Rangers, Arsenal, Barcelona and again with Feyenoord. He was an instrumental player in Barcelona's 2005–06 UEFA Champions League victory, being in the starting line-up of the final, having played every Champions League match for Barcelona that season.[2]

Van Bronckhorst earned 107 caps for the Netherlands national team, and played for his country in three FIFA World Cups, in 1998, 2006 and 2010, as well as three UEFA European Championships, in 2000, 2004 and 2008. After captaining the Oranje in the 2010 World Cup final, he was elected into the Order of Orange-Nassau. The 2010 World Cup final was the last match in his career.

After assisting the Dutch under-21 team and Feyenoord, Van Bronckhorst became Feyenoord manager in May 2015. He won the KNVB Cup in his first season and the club's first Eredivisie title for 18 years in 2017.

Club career

Childhood and early career

Van Bronckhorst was born in Rotterdam to Victor van Bronckhorst, an Indonesian-Dutch, and Fransien Sapulette, an Indonesian mother of Moluccan descent.[4] He began playing for a local amateur youth team in Rotterdam, Linker Maas Oever, from age six. He joined the youth academy at Feyenoord the following year.[4] In 1990, aged 15, the club offered him a professional contract, which he accepted.[4] He won the Dutch Youth League with Feyenoord in 1991, but struggled to break into the first team.[5] He was loaned out to RKC Waalwijk, making his league debut in 1993. He returned to Feyenoord for the 1994–95 season, but was used as a fringe player, making only ten appearances for the club.[5] 1995–96 was his breakthrough season, as he started almost every match for Feyenoord, playing alongside the likes of Regi Blinker and Henrik Larsson.[5]

Domestically, with Feyenoord failing to break the PSVAjax stranglehold on the Eredivisie for the fourth-straight year, and major players such as Henrik Larsson leaving the team, Van Bronckhorst began to search for a new club.[6] He chose to join Dick Advocaat (his former manager at international U-16 and U-18 level) at Rangers, joining the club in 1998 for a reported transfer fee between £5–5.5 million.[7]


Van Bronckhorst was already a regular international when he signed for Rangers in 1998, joining up with compatriot Dick Advocaat, the Scottish club's new manager. In his first competitive game for Rangers, a remarkable UEFA Cup tie away to League of Ireland side Shelbourne (although played at Tranmere Rovers' Prenton Park), Van Bronckhorst marked his debut with a finely-struck goal as Rangers came back from 3–0 down to win the match 5–3.[8] Van Bronckhorst went on to score 22 goals for Rangers (13 in the league, three in the Scottish Cup, one in the Scottish League Cup, three in the UEFA Champions League and two in the UEFA Cup), mostly as a play-making midfielder of notable skill and subtlety, before joining Arsenal for a fee of £8.5 million, signing a five-year contract.[9]


Arsène Wenger had signed Van Bronckhorst in June 2001 for £8 million. [10][11] He sought to replace the midfield void from by the departure of Emmanuel Petit from Arsenal, and so partnered Patrick Vieira in the centre.[12] However, Van Bronckhorst's start at Highbury was marked by a cruciate knee ligament injury which saw him sidelined after only a few months at the club. Despite this, Van Bronckhorst went on to win the Premier League title in 2001–02 and the FA Cup in 2002–03 with Arsenal. In all, he made 64 appearances for the Gunners, scoring twice.[2][3][13]

With Barcelona in 2006.


As the 2003–04 season approached, Van Bronckhorst had the opportunity to move to Barcelona and work with its new head coach Frank Rijkaard on a one-year loan, with a view to a permanent transfer.[14]

Van Bronckhorst at Feyenoord in 2007

After adapting to his new role as a left-back, he helped Barça to a revival in the second half of the season. In May 2004, Van Bronckhorst completed his move from Arsenal to Barcelona for a fee of €2 million, signing a three-year deal.[15] He won the Liga title in the 2004–05 season after some of his finest displays together with four goals to his credit. In 2005–06, he helped his club repeat as Liga champions while winning the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League as well (he was the only player who participated in all Champions League matches that season). In Spain, he used "Gio" as the name on his shirt.[16]

Return to Feyenoord

Van Bronckhorst had a year remaining on his Barcelona contract in 2007, but returned to Feyenoord on 27 June 2007 due to a clause in his contract stipulating he could join Feyenoord on a free transfer.[16] Shortly after, head coach Bert van Marwijk made him captain of the club. He would go on to become a pivotal member of the squad, providing stability in an injury-hit side. At the end of his first season, he led "De Stadionclub" to win the 2007–08 KNVB Cup following a 2–0 victory in the final against Roda JC.[17]

International career

Early years

Van Bronckhorst made his debut for the national Olympic team in 1996, although the Netherlands failed to qualify for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.[5] He was given his first full international cap in August 1996, being given a starting place by Guus Hiddink in the Oranje's lineup to face Brazil in a friendly at the Amsterdam Arena.[6] Van Bronkhorst scored his first goal for Ons Oranje in August 1996 at the FNB Stadium against South Africa. He was part of the Netherlands squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, but did not play during the tournament.[6] He only saw limited action in Euro 2000 on home soil, as cover for left-back Arthur Numan.

Euro 2004 and 2006 World Cup

Van Bronckhorst (who was regularly played as a midfielder at club level at the time) was deployed by manager Dick Advocaat as a left-back at Euro 2004. The Netherlands reached the semi-finals of the tournament, only to fall to hosts Portugal.

Van Bronckhorst as captain of the Netherlands.

Van Bronckhorst was a regular in the national team for the 2006 World Cup qualification campaign. In the round of 16 match against Portugal (see Battle of Nuremberg), he received a red card in a match that saw four red cards given, a World Cup record.[18]

Euro 2008

Van Bronckhorst scored in a Euro 2008 qualifying match against Slovenia on 28 March 2007. The Netherlands went on to win the match by 1–0.[19]

On 9 June 2008, in a group match against Italy, he cleared the ball off his own line, ran deep into the Italian half, then delivered a cross to Dirk Kuyt. Kuyt then headed down to Wesley Sneijder who slotted the ball past the advancing Gianluigi Buffon. Van Bronckhorst later scored another goal to condemn the then World Cup champions to a 3-0 defeat.[20]

Prior to Euro 2008, captain Edwin van der Sar announced his intention to retire from international football after the tournament; he played his last match as captain in the 3–1 quarter-final loss to Russia. Van Bronckhorst was named Van der Sar's replacement as captain.[21]

Van Bronckhorst (right) with (FLTR: Mark van Bommel, Gregory van der Wiel and Demy de Zeeuw).

2010 World Cup

Van Bronckhorst was included in the Netherlands' preliminary squad for the tournament,[22] and on 27 May 2010, Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk announced he would be part of the final squad of 23 and would serve as team captain.[23] In the semi-final against Uruguay, he scored the opening goal of a 3–2 win. The powerful long-range strike – which rose into goalkeeper Fernando Muslera's top left-hand corner – was widely considered one of the best goals in World Cup history.[24][25]

Van Bronckhorst's final match for the Netherlands and as a professional footballer came in the World Cup final against Spain.[26] He was substituted in the 105th minute for Edson Braafheid with the score 0–0, only for Andrés Iniesta to condemn the Dutch to a defeat, scoring the only goal of the match in the 116th minute. After ending the tournament as runners-up, Van Bronckhorst stated he was proud of what the team had achieved.[27]

International goals

1.4 June 1997Johannesburg, South Africa South Africa0–10–2Friendly match
2.2 September 2000Amsterdam, Netherlands Republic of Ireland2–22–2World Cup 2002 qualifier
3.12 February 2003Amsterdam, Netherlands Argentina1–01–0Friendly match
4.28 March 2007Celje, Slovenia Slovenia0–10–1Euro 2008 qualifier
5.9 June 2008Bern, Switzerland Italy3–03–0UEFA Euro 2008
6.6 July 2010Cape Town, South Africa Uruguay1–03–22010 FIFA World Cup

Managerial career

Van Bronckhorst doing some coaching


Having retired at the end of the 200910 season prior to the 2010 World Cup, it was announced on 21 July 2011 that Van Bronckhorst would assist newly appointed Feyenoord manager Ronald Koeman, alongside fellow ex-Feyenoord player Jean-Paul van Gastel.[28] Feyenoord finished the season second behind Ajax, thereby qualifying for the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League.[29] On 23 March 2015, it was announced Van Bronckhorst would be the new manager of Feyenoord after Fred Rutten would leave at the end of that season.[30]

In his first full season, Van Bronckhorst led Feyenoord to win the 2015–16 KNVB Cup after the club defeated Utrecht 2–1 in the final.[31] In his second season, Van Bronckhorst won the Eredivisie title, Feyenoord's first in 18 years.[32]

On 24 January 2019, Van Bronckhorst announced that he would be leaving Feyenoord after the 2018-19 season.[33]

At the start of the 2019–20 season, some press reports suggested that Van Bronckhorst had accepted a role at Manchester City and other clubs owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group to develop his coaching skills and learn about different activities at the football club. This also led to speculation that he was envisioned to replace Pep Guardiola as the club's manager at some indeterminate time in the future.[34][35]

Guangzhou R&F

On 4 January 2020,Van Bronckhorst signed with Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F.[36] He came 11th in his only season, then quit in December so he could return to his family.[37]

Personal life

United States international Gio Reyna – son of Van Bronckhorst's former Rangers teammate Claudio Reyna – is named after him.[38]

Career statistics


ClubSeasonLeagueCup1League Cup2Continental3Other4Total
Feyenoord 1994–95 Eredivisie 101101
1995–96 2797010359
1996–97 3441160415
1997–98 328824010
Total 10322112121012625
RKC Waalwijk (loan) 1993–94 Eredivisie 122122
Rangers 1998–99 Scottish Premier League 3575140925310
1999–2000 2745210120456
2000–01 112001173196
Total 73131036128511722
Arsenal 2001–02 Premier League 211203070331
2002–03 201501040301
2003–04 000000001010
Total 412704011010642
Barcelona (loan) 2003–04 La Liga 3415040431
Barcelona 2004–05 La Liga 2941080384
2005–06 19041130361
2006–07 230616030381
Total 1055162310301557
Feyenoord 2007–08 Eredivisie 32760387
2008–09 271505130402
2009–10 29042332
Total 888152513011111
Career total 422524981019688058569



Managerial statistics

As of 2 December 2020
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team Nat From To Record Ref
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Feyenoord 18 May 2015 19 May 2019 176 107 26 43 367 190 +177 060.80 [40]
Guangzhou R&F 4 January 2020 3 December 2020 23 7 6 10 32 41 −9 030.43
Career total 199 114 32 53 399 231 +168 057.29


Van Bronckhorst (front) with John Heitinga, Khalid Boulahrouz and Phillip Cocu in 2010.

As a player


  • KNVB Cup: 1994−95, 2007−08


  • Scottish Premier League: 1998−99, 1999−2000
  • Scottish Cup: 1998–99, 1999–2000
  • Scottish League Cup: 1998–99




As a manager


  • Eredivisie: 2016–17
  • KNVB Cup: 2015–16, 2017–18
  • Johan Cruyff Shield: 2017, 2018


  • Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau: 2010[44]

See also

  • List of footballers with 100 or more caps


  1. "FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010: List of Players: Netherlands" (PDF). FIFA. 12 June 2010. p. 20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 October 2019.
  2. "Giovanni Van Bronckhorst: Profile".
  3. "Gio Van Bronckhorst". Archived from the original on 2 December 2016.
  4. Autobiography entry: The Early Years 1975–1990 Archived 9 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine – Giovanni van Bronkhorst Official Site
  5. Autobiography entry: Making it at Feyenoord 1990–1996 Archived 10 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine – Giovanni van Bronkhorst Official Site
  6. Autobiography entry:Playing for Holland 1996–1998 Archived 10 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine – Giovanni van Bronkhorst Official Site
  7. Broadfoot, Darryl (15 July 1998). "Van Bronckhorst and Charbonnier join Ibrox revolution with another deal due today Advocaat's team shapes up with two new signings". The Herald. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  8. McGinty, Karl (23 July 1998). "Shelbourne's braves left heartbroken". Irish Independent. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  9. "Arsenal sign van Bronckhorst". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 20 June 2001. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  10. "Van Bronckhorst signs for Arsenal".
  11. "Arsenal sign Van Bronckhorst". 20 June 2001.
  12. "Gio could be key to Arsenal glory". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 13 August 2001. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  13. "'My time at Arsenal really helped me'".
  14. Hodges, Andy (27 August 2003). "Barcelona complete van Bronckhorst loan deal". The Independent. London. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  15. "Bronckhorst completes Barca switch". CNN. 25 May 2004. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  16. "VAN BRONCKHORST WANTS TO WIN THINGS AT FEYENOORD". Feyenoord. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  17. "Feyenoord 2-0 Roda JC".
  18. "The battle of Nuremberg: How Portugal & Netherlands picked up 16 cards & set the tone for a very modern grudge match". Goal. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  19. "Gespeelde wedstrijden" (in Dutch). KNVB. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 16 May 2007.
  20. "Netherlands 3-0 Italy". 9 June 2008.
  21. "Van Bronckhorst named Dutch captain". FIFA. 20 August 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  22. "van Marwijk trims Dutch squad to 27". AFP. 15 May 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  23. "Holland coach Bert van Marwijk finalises World Cup squad". The Guardian. Press Association. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  24. "Top ten WC goals". Sky Sports. 12 July 2010. Archived from the original on 14 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  25. "Goal of the Tournament". FIFA. 12 July 2010. Archived from the original on 15 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  26. "Gio wants fairytale ending". Sky Sports. 10 July 2010. Archived from the original on 13 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
  27. "Gio proud in defeat". Sky Sports. 12 July 2010. Archived from the original on 15 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
  28. "Feyenoord appoint Koeman". ESPN Soccernet. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  29. "Ajax end on high, Feyenoord net UCL". ESPN Soccernet. 6 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  30. "Giovanni van Bronckhorst: Feyenoord confirm new boss". BBC Sport. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  31. "European Football: Five stories you might have missed". BBC Sport. 24 April 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  32. Kuyt en Feyenoord schrijven historie - AD (in Dutch)
  33. Giovanni van Bronckhorst kondigt vertrek aan - Feyenoord (in Dutch)
  34. "Van Bronckhorst accepts role with Manchester City". Football Oranje. 9 September 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  35. "Life after Pep? Van Bronckhorst reportedly involved at Man City". NBC Sports Soccer. 29 September 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  36. "公告:范布隆克霍斯特出任广州富力主教练". Dongqiudi (in Chinese). 4 January 2020. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  37. "Van Bronckhorst quits after one season in China". France 24. 3 December 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  38. "Giovanni Reyna". US Soccer. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  39. "Giovanni Van Bronckhorst: Century of International Appearances".
  40. "Feyenoord: Matches". Soccerway. Perform Group. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  41. "Giovanni Van Bronckhorst".
  42. "Giovanni van Bronckhorst: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  44. "Dutch World Cup coach and captain knighted".
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