Club Brugge legends: Top 10 all-time greats for the Blauw-Zwart

Club Brugge legends: Top 10 all-time greats for the Blauw-Zwart

Kevin Omuya
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:10 PM

Almost any football fan in Belgium would name Club Brugge KV his favourite team. The club's three bear mascots and the eye-catching blue-and-black home uniforms have made them world famous. In addition, they have won multiple Belgian Championships and Belgian Cups thanks to the efforts of the Club Brugge's legends that have made the team the most successful club in Belgian football.

Club Brugge legends list
Brugge's Belgian midfielder Hans Vanaken (L) and Belgian forward Charles De Ketelaere celebrate after victory in the 'Jupiler Pro League's first division. Photo: Tom Goyvaerts
Source: Getty Images

Founded in 1899, the club is a professional football team representing Belgium. Inaugurated in 1891, they play their home games at the 29,062-seat Jan Breydel Stadium. The Blauw-Zwart legends were the best as they were the only Belgian team to have ever reached the final of the European Cup, the former UEFA Champions League, which they lost to Liverpool in 1978. They had previously lost to the same team in the 1976 UEFA Cup Final.

Club Brugge legends list

Great football specialists have come from the team. The majority of them retired to work as coaches for other teams. The most notable Club Brugge legends players are listed below.

10. Jan Ceulemans

Club Brugge legends fifa 22
Jan Ceulemans - 13.06.1984 - Belgique / Yougoslavie - Euro 1984 -Lens, Photo: Alain de Martignac
Source: Getty Images

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Ceulemans spent most of his career on the team, winning multiple awards both with the team and as an individual. His three goals at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, including a magnificent diving header against Spain in the quarterfinals, propelled Belgium to the semi-finals.

9. Raoul Lambert

Former Belgian striker Raoul Lambert was born on October 20, 1944. While playing for them in 1972, he scored 17 goals, making him the league's top scorer. Between 1966 and 1977, he played 33 times for the Belgium national team, tallying 18 goals.

8. Gert Verheyen

Throughout his 20-year professional career, he was most closely associated with the Belgian giants, for whom he scored more than 200 goals in official competition. He was known to have relatively few technical skills, relying on a hard-working approach. Verheyen competed in two World Cups and one European Championship for Belgium, making him one of the biggest Club Brugge legends.

7. Franky Van der Elst

Club Brugge legends players
Franky Van der Elst of Belgium during the FIFA World Cup match between Belgium and South Korea, Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona, Italy, on June 12th 1990. Photo: Serge Philippot
Source: Getty Images

Franky is a former defensive midfielder for the Belgian national football team. After that, he got a job in management. He played professionally for 21 years, with most of those appearances coming with the team, where he became an instant legend and later coached for a short time.

He was one of the famous Club Brugge legends that, in March 2004, Pelé named him one of the top 125 greatest living players. After playing in four World Cups and earning 86 caps for the Belgium national team, Van der Elst retired at 39.

6. Vital Borkelmans

He is a former left fullback for the team with 350 appearances. Among the Club Brugge football legends, he is now a coach. Both the 1994 and 1998 World Cups saw Vital on the field for Belgium. He was hired as manager of Belgian Second Division club Dender EH in January 2010.

Borkelmans was let go when the team was demoted to the Third Division at the end of the 2011–12 season. Belgium's national football team named Vital Borkelmans as Marc Wilmots's deputy manager in July 2012. He took over as Jordan's head coach in 2018 and will stay in that role until June 2021. He is one of the best Club Brugge legends defenders.

5. Lorenzo Staelens

Club Brugge legends of all time
Lorenzo Staelens in Belgium, 2000, during a match between Italy and Club Brugge (2:0) Photo: Henri Szwarc
Source: Getty Images

Retired Belgian footballer Lorenzo Jules Staelens was fired as manager for Knokke in March 2019. He began his career in the middle of the defence and ended it as a sweeper, where he scored more than 100 goals at nearly 40. Staelens competed in his country's three World Cups for Belgium and the Euro 2000 tournament making him one of the biggest Club Brugge legends.

4. Olivier De-Cocck

The city of Eeklo may claim Olivier as one of its own. In 1987, he signed with the giants. His debut year on the main squad was 1995. On 29 November 1996, he made his debut in a 3-1 league victory over Gent.

The only reason he is now a regular starter is that Eric Deflandre was released. In 2006, when Brian Priske was brought in, he lost his sideline spot permanently. He is one of the Club Brugge legends who moved after being replaced in role play.

3. René Vandereycken

Biggest Club Brugge legends
Rene Vandereycken, Belgium.Photo: Peter Robinson
Source: Getty Images

Vandereycken played and managed Belgian football before. From January 1, 2006, to April 7, 2009, he led the Belgian national team as its head coach. He suited up for the club, Genoa, and Anderlecht in his career. His playing career included 50 appearances for the national team, three goals, and a penalty shootout victory for Belgium at Euro 1980, making him one of the best Club Brugge legends.

2. Philippe Clement

In his professional career, he participated in almost 500 games. However, he established himself as a musician in the Belgian giants throughout his decade-long stay in the "Venice of the North" (1999-2009). He won the Belgian title twice in 2003 and 2005 and the Belgian cup thrice in 2002, 2004 and 2007.

1. Gaëtan Englebert

Best Club Brugge legends
Gaëtan Englebert in 2010. Photo: Philippe Perusseau
Source: Getty Images

During his eight years with the team, he was an integral part of its midfield and helped them win two league titles and three cup competitions. He played in a total of 344 games, scoring times.

How good is Club Brugge?

The team has the most consecutive appearances in the UEFA Europa League (20), the most Belgian Cups (11), and the most Belgian Super Cups (4) in European history.

Who is Club Brugge's captain?

Who is Club Brugge captain?
Hans Vanaken of Brugge KV during the Jupiler Pro League match between Brugge KV and KV Kortrijk at the Jan Breydelstadion on August 21, 2022 in Brugges, Belgium. Photo: Joris Verwijst
Source: Getty Images

On Tuesday, West Ham offered an increased £9.2 million to acquire Hans Vanaken, the captain. However, this bid, which included an additional £1.6 million add-ons, is still insufficient for the club.

What country is Club Brugge from?

The team was first formed in 1891 as Brugsche Football Club in Belgium. It was one of the first teams to join the new Belgian football league.

What league is Club Brugge in on FIFA 22?

The team is among the most successful in history for winning the Belgian Pro League. However, they face stiff opposition from teams like Anderlecht FC.

The legends who hailed from Club Brugge created the groundwork for its many records. The club has had great success on the European football stage, having made it to two European finals and two European semi-finals. Furthermore, the team is the only one in Europe to have won the Belgian Cup (11 times), the Belgian Super Cup (11 times), and the UEFA Europa League (20 times) in successive seasons (17).

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Kevin Omuya
Kevin Omuya is a Content Writer with 4 years of experience who joined Sports Brief in 2022. In 2019 he held a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Digital Media from KCA University.