Football – Champions League: The sacred hazing of Ruud Van Nistelrooy at PSV

A first he will remember. At 46, Ruud van Nistelrooy could have had a smoother start on the sidelines after learning the coaching profession in the shadows for the past eight years, sometimes as assistant coach of the Netherlands team. , sometimes at the head of the youth teams in Eindhoven. But the Dutchman perfectly negotiated his hazing by winning a prestigious title in his first official match in the costume of head coach: the Supercup of the Netherlands snatched from the sworn enemy, Ajax, during a success spectacular (5-3) on Saturday in the hostile lair that is the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam.

PSV Eindhoven win the Dutch Super Cup

Credit: Getty Images

“It’s a dream start, rejoicing the selection of ex-international Oranje (70s, 35 goals). I’m taking advantage of the moment but without any euphoria knowing that we will have to quickly find accommodation on the trip to Monaco “. Van Nistelrooy knows football too well to be overjoyed. The draw for the 3rd preliminary round of the C1 has also calmed the enthusiasm on the side of the Philips Stadion, the new mentor believing that “AS Monaco are the worst possible opponent at this stage. A team that can put on technically gifted players, some of whom have played in the Dutch league”.

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Pupil of Ferguson, Capello and Van Gaal

In terms of coaches, Van Nistelrooy has been at a good school. Few current young coaches can indeed claim to have evolved as a player under the orders of sacred monsters such as Guus Hiddink and Eric Gerets (at PSV), Alex Ferguson (at Manchester United), Fabio Capello (at Real Madrid) or even Louis van Gaal (in selection). “If the coaches I knew were often great tacticians, they were above all enthusiastic personalities. And it is this enthusiasm that I will try to transmit to my players”explained “Van the Man” (his nickname at ManU) last June to the Voetbal International site.

An enthusiasm that is already transpiring in Dutch Brabant in view of the three victories recorded at the end of July against FC Eindhoven (D2, 5-0), Betis Sevilla (2-1) and therefore Ajax. “Scoring five goals for Ajax is obviously a great achievement”rejoiced Van Nistelrooy, a follower of 4-3-3, the pattern still so trendy in the country which saw the birth of total football.

Van Nistelroy

Credit: Getty Images

Fabulous striker, the former top scorer in the Eredivisie (the Dutch L1), Premier League and La Liga, knows however that his record as a player is not a talisman at the dawn of his career as a coach. “I didn’t want to throw myself headlong into this difficult profession. It took me almost ten years to prepare for it and I now think I’m ready”he said on July 1 at the time of his appointment as successor to the German Roger Schmidt, who left for Benfica Lisbon.

“I’m proud: I played here and I’m now going to lead PSV as head coach. But I also know that the hardest part begins and that having been a good player is not enough to become a good coach”, he said again. It may be to another illustrious great Dutch striker, Marco van Basten, whose coaching career did not reach the heights familiar to him during his playing career.

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