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07th Jun 2024

Ruud Gullit reveals what sets world class players apart from the rest

Ryan Price

The two-time European Cup winner was speaking to JOE ahead of last weekend’s final at Wembley.

Ruud Gullit has revealed the traits and characteristics that distanced world class players from other professional footballers.

Gullit was speaking to us ahead of the Champions League final, as Heineken celebrated hardcore fans at Wembley Stadium.

In its journey to become the world’s most inclusive football sponsor, Heineken is leveraging its 30 year partnership with UEFA to help level the playing field for all football fans by tackling the issues that prevent them from having an enjoyable, inclusive experience.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid went on to win the game, overpowering Edin Terzić’s Dortmund side with two late goals from Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Junior.

Our reporter Jack Clarke asked the former AC Milan and Chelsea star which club’s atmosphere had the biggest impact on him during his playing days.

The Dutchman answered: “There are several places. The Milan fans when I was in Italy were incredible. They were unbelievable.”

He added: “Red Star Belgrade also. 100,000 people going crazy. Real Madrid fans are also great.”

Gullit was a world-beating attacker back in his day. He was named one of the Top 125 greatest living footballers as part of FIFA’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2004 and won the Ballon d’Or in 1987.

He captained the Netherlands national team that was victorious at the UEFA Euro 1988, and won two Champions League trophies with AC Milan in 1989 and 1990.

When asked if he ever felt intimidated in historic and volatile grounds as a young player, he said: “No I loved it.

“I loved the fact that they made you feel alone,” he said. “You know, if the crowd is your enemy, they’re gonna shout at you. I lived for that energy. Some people shrink but I wanted to feel it.

“To me it meant that they were afraid of me. That they didn’t want me to play well. I used to think, ‘ok then good to know!'”

The 61-year-old also said thay he knew before walking on to the pitch whether his team was going to win the game or not.

“You get your first impression in the tunnel,” he said. “You can already feel whether you’re going to win or not.”

Heineken has redefined what it means to be a ‘real hardcore fan’ by highlighting those that go above and beyond to support the game they love and foster an inclusive space for all fans by creating a series of activations worldwide to put ‘hardcore’ fans front and center and refresh perceptions around the modern face of football fandom.

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