Sports Nicknames - The Black Tulip (Il Tulipano Nero)

Ruud Gullit is one of the most famous Dutch players of all time. This is partially because of his world-class skills on the pitch, but also because of his looks when he did it. His famous braided hair gave him the nickname of "The Black Tulip" back in the Netherlands.

Gullit first signed for HFC Haarlem in 1978, making his first appearance at the age of 16 - making him at the time the youngest player to ever play in the Eredivisie. The club got relegated, but bounced back the next season and finished in a European place for the first time in their history. Gullit then signed for Feyenoord and found himself alongside the legendary Johann Cruyff, winning the league and cup the season after he signed. Gullit then signed for rivals PSV, helping them to the Eredivisie title.

Profile drawing of Ruud Gullit - Tulipano Negro - PSV AC Milan footballer. Holland - Dutch - Netherlands national.  Illustration.  Sketch.  Avatar.

It was Gullit's time outside of the Netherlands that made him such a renowned figure. He signed for Silvio Berlusconi's AC Milan, helping the team to 3 Serie A titles and 2 European Cups as the major titles. He stayed in Italy when he was done with Milan, signing with Sampdoria and winning the Coppa Italia.

At 33, he signed with London-based Chelsea. While he didn't win anything as a player there, he did come back as a manager later and helped the club win the FA Cup. He also helped inspire more foreign players like Gianfranco Zola to sign for the club.

Ruud Gullit was adept at many different positions, able to dribble, pass and score with great technique. He was an intelligent player who could see the entire field at times and helped his Dutch team to the 1988 European Championship. A legend of the game, The Black Tulip most certainly left his mark wherever he went.


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