The Premiership’s 8th-leading goalscorer of all time, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, retired today, and I’m amazed at how quietly the whole thing has gone down.
The Dutchman is one of two players never to have played in the Eredivisie and still be selected to Holland’s national team, scoring 9 goals in 23 games for the the Oranje.
Hasselbaink tallied 128 goals in England’s top flight with Leeds, Chelsea, Middlesbrough, and Charlton Athletic, and piled up a whopping 175 in all competitions. His best years were spent at Stamford Bridge in the early part of this decade, where he was a club-record $30 million signing at the time and scored 87 goals in 177 games, a staggeringly proficient strike rate at any level, much less the Premiership.
He then moved to Middlesbrough, where he was still a solid option, but Father Time finally caught up to him at Charlton in ‘06-’07 and Cardiff last season. His contract with Cardiff wasn’t renewed for this year, and although there were some rumors linking him to a couple Championship clubs late this summer, nothing ever came to fruition. Instead of pursing other options further, the 36-year-old Suriname-born striker has chosen to hang his cleats up.
As I said earlier, though, it’s shocking to me how little attention this announcement has gotten from the media. There’s no question that Hasselbaink’s career really stalled at the end of his tenure at Middlesbrough and at Charlton and Cardiff, but this guy was as good as there was in three countries — Portugal, Spain, and England — for 10 years. Anything better than a goal every three games is considered pretty good for a striker, and Hasselbaink was close to a goal every two games at his prime.
I get the feeling that if Hasselbaink was English, this would be more of a story. He’d be hailed as a national hero and celebrated far and wide. Because he isn’t, however, this is getting overlooked and it’s a shame. The article I found was buried way down on the BBC’s soccer page and wasn’t even on ESPNsoccernet or Sky Sports, at least not at the time of my writing this post. Instead, I have to read things about Chelsea’s appeal of John Terry’s red card, Manchester United’s backup goalkeeper signing a contract extension, Samir Nasri’s questionable status for a Champions League game against Dynamo Kiev, and Craig Fagan’s broken leg. Come on.
Hasselbaink is a classy, classy individual, and there aren’t enough of those left in the game. He was dangerous every time he stepped on the field. He’ll certainly be missed by me, and I hope you pay tribute to his accomplishments as well.