Kolkata: The rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo can only be compared to the on court duel between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, feels Dutch legend Marco Van Basten. The former Netherlands striker now the Technical Director of FIFA is in the city to attend the FIFA Council meeting on Friday.
The 52 year old Basten still looks a lot fitter than he was during his playing days. The former FIFA Player of the Year looked quite macho in his black T’shirt. He also won three Ballon d’Or titles in 1988, 1989 and 1992. Known for his close ball control, attacking intelligence and spectacular strikes and volleys, Basten reckon the current Dutch team is passing through some tough times. Fans will miss the Orange army in Russia 2018 World Cup.
“I remember we made a great comeback in the 1988 European Cup. We went on to become the champions. The current team is passing through a similar tough period and there are no doubts in my mind that they will come back strongly.”
Basten was named player of the tournament, at UEFA Euro 1988, scoring five goals that included a memorable volley in the final against the Soviet Union.
The former Netherlands manager complimented the LOC for the successful hosting of the U17 World Cup in India. He was also impressed with the way India played against Colombia in the tournament.
Talking about India’s performance in the tournament, Basten said, “I think staging the U17 World Cup was a huge boost for India. I was very impressed with their performance in the match against Colombia which they lost 1-2.”
Basten was present at the DY Patil Stadium yesterday to watch Spain play Mali in the second semi final. He also had a chance to watch a part of the first semi final between Brazil and England on TV.
Regarded as the greatest striker in Europe, Basten has scored over 300 goals in his high profile career. The former Dutch international was forced to hang his boots in 1993 at an age of only 30 years due to an injury
He was later the head coach of Ajax and the Netherlands national team.