AC Milan and Ajax legend, Van Basten believed that he would have been able to achieve better than Cristiano Ronaldo in his career if not for a career-ending ankle injury.
The former Netherlands legend has made bold claims about his career, saying that he could have been one of the greatest players of all time if not for injuries.
Van Basten is regarded as one of the greatest players of his era after winning three Ballon d’Or awards between 1988 and 1992, as well as being named the UEFA player of the year on three occasions and the FIFA World Player of the Year once.
He won two European Cups with AC Milan and a European Cup Winners Cup with Ajax, as well as three Serie A titles and three Eredivisie titles, and famously scored the winning goal in the 1988 European Championships, which remains the Netherlands’ only international success in Men’s football till date.
Van Basten’s successful career was cut short at the age of 30 when he was forced to retire due to an injury that had kept him out of football for two years.
His final appearance as a footballer came when he was 28, in the 1993 UEFA Champions League final against Marseille.
Van Basten vs Ronaldo
Many have wondered how Van Basten might have done if he hadn’t suffered niggling ankle injuries, which ultimately forced him to retire at a young age, and the Dutch legend recently provided some insight into how he might have done without them.
The Dutch goal scorer believes that if he had 10 more injury-free years in the game, he would have matched the feats of Ronaldo, having done as well as the Portuguese at the age that he was forced to retire.
He was quoted as saying, “I think if you compare my career with Cristiano Ronaldo’s career until I had to quit (injury), I get very close to him, and maybe mine was even better, but I was unable to continue my career after that.”
The Dutchman scored 283 goals in 379 AC Milan and Ajax games, a ratio of 0.75 goals per match, slightly higher than Ronaldo’s 0.74 goals per game overall, lending some credence to his claim.