Explore the captivating life story of Frank Rijkaard, the legendary midfielder

Explore the captivating life story of Frank Rijkaard, the legendary midfielder

Ciku Njuguna
updated at February 5, 2024 at 5:12 AM
In this article:
Netherlands logo
Netherlands
Netherlands
25
Saudi Arabia logo
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
23
FC Barcelona logo
FC Barcelona
Spain
35
AFC Ajax logo
AFC Ajax
Netherlands
35
AC Milan logo
AC Milan
Italy
39

Frank Rijkaard is one of the most accomplished football players, winning almost two dozen titles, including two Dutch Super Cups, five Dutch Championships, and three Dutch Cups. Despite his global fame, the defensive midfielder seemingly disappeared from the public eye at the end of his career. Dig in to find out why.

Frank Rijkaard pictured during a match
Former Barcelona FC's head coach Frank Rijkaard pictured before a La Liga match against Villarreal at the Camp Nou on March 9, 2008, in Barcelona, Spain. Photo by Etsuo Hara.
Source: Getty Images

How good was Rijkaard? In his prime, the midfielder-turned-coach scaled the heights of success, winning back-to-back titles. This article gives a detailed snapshot of Rijkaad's personal and professional profile.

Frank Rijkaard's profile summary

Full name

Franklin Edmundo Rijkaard

Nickname

The Black Swan, Llama, Frank

Date of birth

30 September 1962

Age

61 years old as of February 2023

Place of birth

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Nationality

Dutch-Surinamese

Height

190 centimetres (6'2")

Weight

80 kilograms (176.3 lbs)

Parents

Herman Rijkaard and Neel van der Meulen

Siblings

1

Relationship status

Married

Spouse

Stefanie Rucker

Children

4

Positions

Defensive midfielder, centre-back, central midfielder

Playing debut

1973

Years active as a player

1973 - 1995

Managing debut

January 1998

Years active as a manager

1998 - 2013

Net worth

$84 million

What is Frank Rijkaard's age?

Born on the 30th of September in 1962, the midfielder-turned-head coach is 61 years old as of February 2023. His zodiac sign is Libra.

A graphical bio of Frank Rijkaard, retired football player and coach
Frank Rijkaard attends the Black Lotus premiere at Pathe Tuschinski on April 10, 2023, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo by Daniel Kroll/BSR Agency.
Source: Getty Images

Frank Rijkaard's brief biography

The former Barcelona coach was born in Jacob van Lennepkade 132, Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Herman Rijkaard and Neel van der Meulen. He has one brother, Herman Harry Rijkaard Jr.

His father, Herman Rijkaard, is a retired Surinamese football player who arrived in Amsterdam on a boat with George Gullit, the father of Ruud Gullit, a former Dutch footballer and manager. He played for I.J.V.V. Stormvogels and Blauw-Wit before permanently settling in social work.

Frank Rijkaard's family

Frank Rijkaard's wife is Stefanie Rucker. The couple who got married in 2020 have one child, Santi.

He was previously married to Monique Olgers and Carmen Sanders. He married Sanders in 1985, with whom he had one child. Four years later, he tied the knot with his ex-wife, Monique Olgers, with whom he has two children.

Education

Rijkaard attended primary school at Ingenieur Sweelinck School Community. His journey with football began at the age of seven. His father signed him up at SC Buitenveldert, where he started professional training and playing.

AC Milan's football player, Frank Rijkaard in a match against Napoli's players
AC Milan's Frank Rijkaard in action during a Serie A match against Napoli at the Stadio Sao Paulo on November 27, 1988, in Naples, Italy. Photo by Etsuo Hara.
Source: Getty Images

Career

According to various sources, his youth career began at the SCA, Buitenveldert, and Blauw-Wit before Gullit later influenced him to join DWS Amsterdam Youth. Several parallels exist between Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard, including being inexhaustible street footballers. Born a month apart, the two played separately for a while before reuniting at the AFC DWS. Scroll down for a comprehensive deep dive into Frank Rijkaard's player and manager profiles.

What clubs did Rijkaard play for?

Like many Dutch football legends, Frank trained in the Ajax youth systems between 1979 and 1980. On September 1, 1981, he received his first call-up to the Netherlands national football team under head coach Kees Rijvers.

He transferred to Liga Portugal and played for Sporting CP between January and June 1988. He also played for La Liga and Serie A teams, AC Milan and Real Zaragoza, before returning to his boyhood team in 1993. In 1995, the multitalented midfielder retired from active play and became a coach.

Frank Rijkaard's stats as a player

Was Frank Rijkaard a good player? History has marked the Dutch-Surinamese footballer as one of the best midfielders of all time.

AC Milan's football player, Frank Rijkaard prepares to kick the ball during a match against Napoli
AC Milan's former midfielder Frank Rijkaard in action during a Serie A match against Napoli at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on April 9, 1989, in Milan, Italy. Photo by Etsuo Hara.
Source: Getty Images

On June 1, 1994, he scored two goals, marking one of his biggest career wins for the Netherlands national football team during an International friendly against Hungary. Here is a summary of the two-time Italian Super Cup winners' club and international career stats.

Team

Appearances

Goals

Assists

Ajax Amsterdam

337

71

29

AC Milan

201

26

25

Real Zaragoza

7

-

-

Netherlands national football team

73

10

4

What teams did Rijkaard manage?

January 16, 2013, marked the end of an era for the Dutch legend as he retired from football. His coaching career began with a five-month stint as an assistant coach for the Netherlands national football team under Guus Hiddink. Between 1998 and 2013, he led six teams in 420 matches.

Frank Rijkaard's stats as a manager

The start of Rijkaard's career as an assistant manager for the Netherlands national football team was uneventful. At the end of his career in 2013, he had managed 411 matches for five teams with 214 wins, 106 draws, and 91 losses.

Football coach, Frank Rijkaard instructs players during a football match
Former FC Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard gives instructions during a 2006 UEFA Champions League match against Benfica at the Estadio da Luz on March 28, 2006, in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Etsuo Hara.
Source: Getty Images

Frank Rijkaard's awards

He is one of the best football players of all time with no Ballon d'Or. In 1987, the Dutch legend lost to his childhood friend and teammate, Ruud Gullit. A year later, he was bested by Marco van Basten, who took the crown in 1988 and 1989. Have a look at all the accolades he received throughout his career.

  • 2020 France Football's Ballon d'Or Dream Team XI - silver team
  • 1994/95, 1993/94, 1984/85, 1982/83, 1981/82 Dutch Champion
  • 1994/95 Champions League Winner
  • 1994/95, 1993/94 Dutch Super Cup Winner
  • 1992/93, 1991/92 Italian Champion
  • 1992/93, 1988/89 Italian Super Cup Winner
  • 1990/91, 1989/90 Intercontinental Cup Winner
  • 1990/91, 1989/90 Uefa Supercup Winner
  • 1989/90, 1988/89 European Champion Clubs' Cup Winner
  • 1986/87, 1985/86, 1982/83 Dutch Cup Winner
  • 1987/88 European Champion
  • 1986/87 Europapokal der Pokalsieger Sieger

Frank Rijkaard's trophies as manager

  • 2006/07, 2005/06 Spanish Super Cup winner
  • 2005/06 LaLiga World's Best Club Coach
  • 2005/06 UEFA Champions League winner
  • 2005/06, 2004/05 Spanish champion
Former Barcelona coach and player, Franch Rijkaard and Ronaldinho, receive a trophy together
Former FC Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard (r) and Ronaldinho (l) receive the Mission Hills Cup trophy on August 11, 2007. Photo by Dickson Lee/South China Morning Post.
Source: Getty Images

Frequently asked questions

Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard are among the legendary Dutch masters who shaped the game as it is. Have a look at some interesting facts about the retired defensive midfielder.

1. Where is Frank Rijkaard now?

Details of the football legend's current career remain unclear. However, recent developments at Barcelona suggest he might be selected to replace Xavi Hernández, the team's outgoing manager.

2. Why has Frank Rijkaard disappeared from football?

According to various sources, Frank has opted to live in the shadows, escaping the harsh reality of life in the limelight. Some attribute his absence from football to his somewhat dispirited performance as a coach. Other sources cite the backlash in Holland that followed his second divorce from Olgers and his subsequent marriage to the family's former nanny.

3. What jersey numbers did Frank Rijkaard play in?

At the time of writing, the living legend's signed jerseys cost between $442 and $253. Among other numbers, he often donned number 8 for AC Milan, 5 for Ajax Amsterdam, and 3, 8, and 7 while playing internationally.

4. What happened between Rudi Völler and Frank Rijkaard?

Holland and Germany's historic feud played out appallingly when Rijkaard spat on Rudi Völler during a 1990 FIFA World Cup match. An escalation in the spat (pun intended) led to both players being sent off the match. Speaking to Four-Four-Two, Völler said,

"What he did was not nice, but the match should have continued for me. I do not understand why the ref sent me off. There are always problems between Germany and Holland. Frank apologised a few months later."
Germany and Netherlands' football players playig during the Italia 90 FIFA World Cup match
Rudi Völler (in white) and Frank Rijkaard (in orange) duel during the 1988 UEFA European Football Championship in Hamburg, Germany, on June 21, 1988. Photo by Rzepka/ullstein bild.
Source: Getty Images

Final word

For over four decades, Frank Rijkaard was an active participant in the world of football. His contribution to football as a coach

READ ALSO: Who is Louis Van Gaal, the Dutch head coach heading into this World Cup?

Sports Brief published an article about the , Netherlands' national football coach, Louis Van Gaal. The retired midfielder once played for top-flight clubs such as Ajax Amsterdam, Sparta Rotterdam and the Royal Antwerp FC.

His successful tenure as a player has been followed by over three decades at the helm of FC Barcelona, Manchester United, and the Netherlands' national football teams. Click on the link above for details of Ajax Amsterdam's advisor.

Authors
Ciku Njuguna photo
Ciku Njuguna
Ciku Njuguna is a journalist with 3 year’s experience in content creation based in Kenya. She currently covers sports personnel as well as team biographies.