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The last 7 Dutch Footballers of the Year: Where Are They Now?

 
 
Hakim Ziyach of Morocco in action during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Portugal and Morocco at Luzhniki Stadium on June 20, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.

Here are the last 7 Dutch Footballers of the Year: Where Are They Now?

7. Hakim Ziyech - Ajax

The Dutch Footballer of the Year Award has a prestigious list of former recipients ranging from Johan Cruyff and Frank Rijkaard, to Luis Suarez and Edwin van der Sar, but the most recent winner was Hakim Ziyech. Named as the best player in the Netherlands for the 2017-18 season, you most likely watched Ziyech in action in an impressive yet eliminated Morocco side at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Ziyech is a classy central or attacking midfielder who has spent his entire career in the Netherlands, taking him from Heerenveen to Twente and since 2016, his current club Ajax. Ziyech’s impressive showings have seen him heavily linked with a move to Liverpool this summer.

6. Karim El Ahmadi - Feyenoord

Karim El Ahmadi of Morocco looks on prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Morocco and Iran at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 15, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.Karim El Ahmadi of Morocco looks on prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Morocco and Iran at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 15, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The two most recent Dutch Footballers of the Year are both Dutch-born stars of the Moroccan national team who featured at this summer's World Cup. Karim El Ahmadi, also formerly of FC Twente, has been with Feyenoord since 2014. The 33-year-old previously spent a couple of seasons in the Premier League with Aston Villa, where he was notably on the receiving end of a stamp by Chelsea midfielder Ramires. A dogged, energetic and tough tackling holding midfielder, El Ahmadi was named as the Eredivisie’s best player as Feyenoord won their first league title for 18 years in the 2016-17 season.

5. Davy Klaassen - Everton

Dutch international Davy Klaassen was playing for Everton in the Premier League last season, although if you blinked you may have missed his debut season in England’s top flight, so limited was the midfielders game time at Goodison Park. A tidy and technical central midfield player with a great engine, Klaassen came through the famed Ajax youth system, before making more than 180 appearances for the club. He was named as the Dutch Footballer of the Year having scored 15 goals from midfield in the 2015-16 season, and he followed that up with 20 goals the following season, which proved to be his last with the club. At Everton though, Klaassen didn’t score a single goal in 7 Premier League outings and 16 in all competitions, as he was seemingly frozen out by Sam Allardyce, despite the £24 million fee Everton forked out to acquire his services.

4. Georginio Wijnaldum - Liverpool

Georginio Wijnaldum and Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates after the full time whistle as Liverpool qualify for the Champions League Final during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final...Georginio Wijnaldum and Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates after the full time whistle as Liverpool qualify for the Champions League Final during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final...

We started this seven with a player heavily linked with a move to Anfield, and in fourth place is one currently starring for the Reds. Georginio Wijnaldum had a funny old start to life in the Premier League, with a very mixed debut season at Newcastle United. His 11 goals earnt him many plaudits in a relegated Newcastle team, but Gallowgate regulars accused him of inconsistency and drifting through crunch games in the North East. Liverpool were still happy to pay £25 million for the Netherlands international, and he has slotted in nicely with Jurgen Klopp’s tactics. Wijnaldum beat Memphis Depay to the Dutch Footballer of the Year award in 2014-15, scoring 18 goals as PSV won the Eredivisie in incredibly comfortable fashion.

3. Daley Blind - Ajax

You may be sensing a theme here, and that is, if you win the Dutch Footballer of the Year award, there’s a 99% chance a Premier League club is about to come knocking. That was certainly the case for Ajax star Daley Blind, who won the award for his exploits in the 2013-14 season and signed for Manchester United the following summer. An exceptionally versatile footballer, Blind can play anywhere across the backline or in central or holding midfield. The combination of injuries and Ashley Young’s impressive form at left-back meant Blind made only 7 league appearances under Jose Mourinho last season, and he recently rejoined Ajax for £18.5 million.

2. Wilfried Bony - Swansea City

Swansea player Wilfried Bony looks on before the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on April 28, 2018 in Swansea, Wales.Swansea player Wilfried Bony looks on before the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on April 28, 2018 in Swansea, Wales.

There have been one or two Eredivisie players who have failed to replicate their Netherlands goal scoring exploits after moving to the Premier League in recent years, but Wilfried Bony was not one of those players. The Ivorian international was named Dutch Player of the Year in his final season with Vitesse, where he scored 37 goals in 36 games. Of course, he didn’t average a goal a game at Swansea, but 25 goals in 48 games constituted a quite incredible debut season. Six months later, Bony made a big money move to Manchester City, and quite frankly, he has never been the same since. Now back at Swansea, Bony has scored 4 goals in 25 games over the last two seasons, and he will be playing in the Championship next season.

1. Jan Vertonghen - Tottenham

That’s right, the only player in this seven who hasn’t played in the Premier League is Hakim Ziyech, and even he is reportedly on the verge of a move to Liverpool. Jan Vertonghen won the Dutch Footballer of the Year award in the 2011-12 season, fresh off the back of winning his second consecutive Eredivisie title with Ajax. Despite having been born and raised in Belgium, Vertonghen had been with Ajax since the age of 16. He subsequently signed for Tottenham, where he has been nothing short of a revelation in North London. An inspired piece of business by Spurs at around £12-13 million, Vertonghen has twice been named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year, as well as forming a formidable centre-back partnership alongside compatriot Toby Alderweireld.

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