Former FC Barcelona coach and club legend Ronald Koeman is the highest goal-scoring defender of all time, with a massive 239 goals to his name in club football. He is the younger brother of his former international teammate Erwin Koeman and the son of former Dutch international Martin Koeman. Koeman was capable of playing both as a defender and as a midfielder; he frequently played as a sweeper, although he was equally known for his goal-scoring, long-range shooting, and accuracy from free-kicks and penalties.
Koeman’s start in football came at local amateur clubs VV Helpman and GRG Groningen before moving to Groningen, following the path of brother Erwin. Playing primarily in his own third of the pitch, in defence and midfield, he could ping the ball with comfort and accuracy, had great technique, and was confident when moving it through the pitch. He was also a bright, clean defender.
At international level, Koeman was one of the stars of the Netherlands national team, alongside Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Dennis Bergkamp. During his career with the Netherlands, Koeman won UEFA Euro 1988 and played at the UEFA Euro 1992, 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups, captaining the team at the latter.
In 1989, Koeman re-joined his former Ajax coach Johan Cruyff at Barcelona, where he became a member of the famous “Dream Team”. During his first season at the club, Barcelona won the Copa del Rey, beating Real Madrid 2–0 in the final. Along with players such as Hristo Stoichkov, Romario, Pep Guardiola and Michael Laudrup, Koeman helped the club win La Liga four years in a row from 1991 to 1994.
He scored the only goal of the 1992 European Cup Final with a free kick from the edge of the 18-yard box against Sampdoria at Wembley Stadium to make Barça European champions for the first time in its history. With this, he became the first player to score in two consecutive finals of different European competitions, having scored Barcelona’s consolation goal in a 1–2 defeat against Manchester United in the 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final.
Koeman was known for his powerful right-footed free kicks and deadball ability, where he scored many vital goals for the team. One of his best strikes in La Liga came in the memorable 5–0 win over Real Madrid in 1994, with his bending free-kick making the scoreline 2–0. Koeman was the joint-top scorer with eight goals in the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League, in which Barcelona were beaten 0–4 in the final by A.C. Milan at the Olympic Stadium in Athens.
His nicknames while playing for Barcelona was Tintin, due to his physical similarity with Herge’s fictional character, and Floquet de Neu, after the famous albino gorilla in the Barcelona Zoo.