Saturday, September 26, 2015

26 September 1990 - Bergkamp's International Career Takes Flight

On 26 September 1990, Dennis Bergkamp made his international debut for the Netherlands in a friendly against Italy. He would go on to become the Dutch national team's greatest goalscorer.

Bergkamp, a second striker (and renowned aviophobe), began his professional career four years earlier with Ajax, where he won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1987) and the KNVB Cup (1987) before winning the Eredivisie in 1990. His performance that season won him the Dutch Football Talent of the Year and earned his his first cap for the Netherlands.

The Dutch lost that first match, 1-0 in Palermo, but Bergkamp developed into a prolific striker, scoring 37 goals in 79 international appearances - enough to make him the Netherlands' top scorer by the time of his international retirement in 2000 (though he was later surpassed by Patrick Kluivert, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Robin van Persie). The Dutch failed to claim any major silverware during his tenure, but he earned an individual honor by winning the 1992 UEFA Euro golden boot. He also won silverware at the club level with Ajax, Inter, and especially Arsenal, where he won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups between 1995 and 2006.

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