Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Clarence Seedorf: The Renaissance Man of World Football

MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 26:  Clarence Seedorf of AC Milan celebrates during the Tim Cup match between AC Milan and SS Lazio at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on January 26, 2012 in Milan, Italy.
Photo credit: Getty Images logo Getty Images

Editor's Note:

This majority of this article was originally published on 2 April 2008. I added his farewell to Milan on 21 June 2012.

Mr. Seedorf announced his farewell from Milan today (21 June 2012):

"Lascio dopo 10 anni fantastici. La prospettiva è di continuare a mantenere un rapporto professionale in futuro, se ci sarà la possibilità - ha spiegato Seedorf - Ho vissuto più tempo qui al Milan che con la mia famiglia negli ultimi dieci anni. Ora posso continuare la mia carriera altrove, scegliendo tra proposte competitive. Ma non sarà semplice, voglio fare la scelta giusta". {Corrierre dello Sport, 21 June 2012}

"I'm leaving after 10 fantastic years. The plan is to continue to maintain a professional relationship in the future if there will be the possibility. I've spent more time here in Milan than with my family in the last 10 years. Now I can continue my career elsewhere choosing between competitive offers. But it won't be easy. I want to make the right choice."

Clarence Seedorf was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, which is a small country in South America. He was a product of the Ajax Amsterdam youth system, and currently plays for AC Milan. He may be one of the most educated, literate, and versatile of modern footballers.
  • He has a foundation dedicated to young people, Champions for Children, and has begun ON International, which is an entertainment and sports management company.
  • He has won the UEFA Champions League more times than any other player (4) with three different clubs: Ajax Amsterdam, Real Madrid, and AC Milan.
  • He has played over 100 games in the Champions League.
  • He has 87 caps (11 goals) for The Netherlands, and has been a part of their player pool since 1994.
  • He has featured at three European Nations Cups, along with one World Cup.
  • He was named to the 125 Best Living Players List in 2004.
  • He speaks six languages with intriguing candor and fluency.
  • He makes visits, such as to New York Red Bull last year, to see rather than read about developments in world football.
  • He has designed his own jewelry line.
  • He has sponsored a professional motorcycle team.
  • He has been an editor.
A few days ago (April 2008), I read excerpts of an interview that he gave to GQ, although they appeared in La Gazzetta dello Sport. I will translate from the Italian text.



"Io fino a 35-36 anni gioco e voglio andare agli Europei e ai Mondiali 2010. Poi farò quello che mi farà più piacere. Credo che investirò tante energie nella mia fondazione Champions for children. Il legame col Milan è importante: abbiamo già parlato del dopo, ma mancano ancora, come minimo, 4 anni".

"I will play until 35 or 36 (he is 32 now in 2008) and I want to go to the Euro 2008 and the World Cup in 2010. After that, I'll do whatever gives me the most pleasure. I believe that I will invest significant energies in my foundation, Champions for Children. The connection with Milan is important: we have already discussed what will happen afterwards, but as of now, that won't happen at a minimum for four years."

"Nonostante il sistema, sono vivo - commenta in un'intervista al mensile GQ in edicola il 3 aprile -. Ma quelli che non hanno avuto la mia forza o la mia testa sono stati buttati fuori. Resistere è una variabile del tutto casuale. Fin dagli esordi in Olanda, la stampa ha costruito un'immagine di me, senza che ne avessi il minimo controllo. Ti pare giusto che gente che non ti conosce, che non sa nemmeno chi sei possa influire così tanto sulla tua vita? Mi hanno ritagliato un'immagine che non mi corrispondeva affatto: poi, per fortuna, andavo in campo e lì il giudizio tornava alla gente".

"Not withstanding the system, I am alive, he commented in an interview with the monthly magazine, GQ, for 03 April. But those who don't have my strength or my brains are cast aside. To resist is a variable for everything that is casual. From the time of my debut in Holland, the press has constructed an image of me, without which I had minimal control. Does it seem just to you that people who don't know me, that don't know anything about you can influence in such a strong way in your life? They cut an image of me that didn't correspond: later, fortunately, I went on the pitch and there the judgment came from the fans."

"Ronaldo mi supporta molto - racconta Seedorf -. Anche lui sa bene quanto siamo stati vicini a essere buttati fuori. Funziona così: trovi il direttore sportivo o l'allenatore sbagliato, con cui non hai sintonia, e sei rovinato. Guarda che cosa è successo a Ronie negli ultimi cinque anni, prima di arrivare qui. O quello che è capitato a me in Olanda. È ora che i calciatori tornino a essere persone". Il centrocampista olandese è molto critico verso il mondo calcio. "È come il mercato della carne - sottolinea -. C'è un pezzo di carne d'Argentina, che è buonissimo e richiestissimo, e lo vendo in Italia, poi lo esporto in Spagna, in Inghilterra. Lo vendo dove mi fanno la miglior offerta. Non importa se dove lo mando sia il posto giusto per il suo talento: comandano solo i soldi. Non m'importa di seguirne l'ambientamento, di verificare se si integra, lo lascio solo al suo destino. Questa è la mentalità che regge il sistema calcio".

"Ronaldo (Ronaldo of Milan) supports me a great deal, recounted Seedorf. He also knows how close we come to being cast aside. It works like this: you find a director of sport or a coach who is mistaken (wrong), with which you have a synchronicity, and you are destroyed. Look at what happened to Ronie in the last 5 years before he arrived here. Or what happened to me in Holland. It is only now that footballers have returned to be people."

The Dutch midfielder is very critical of world football.

"It is like a meat market, he stresses. There is a piece of meat in Argentina, that is very good and very rich, and they sell it in Italy, export it to Spain and England. They sell it to the best offer. It doesn't matter where they send it or if it is the right place for your talent. Only the money dictates. It's not important to me to follow this custom, to verify if you internalize it, I leave it alone to its own destiny. This is the mentality that rules the system of football."

"Che Seedorf sia uno a cui non piace questo sistema si sa, basta pensare a quando venne ucciso Gabriele Sandri: fu l'unico a non indossare la fascia nera del lutto. "Non certo per mancanza di rispetto - spiega -. Ma quando andammo in campo non si sapeva nulla: chi fosse, che cosa fosse successo. Niente. E se, per caso, fosse stato un mafioso? Rispetto ogni essere umano, ma non do la mia solidarietà a un assassino. Invece, il mondo del calcio ci riversò addosso la responsabilità di un evento che non c'entrava nulla di nulla col calcio". "Quello delle autorità calcistiche fu un atto di paura - prosegue Seedorf - con copertura politica. Una settimana dopo, la fascia l'ho messa. Ma ancora nessuno m'ha spiegato perché non ce l'hanno fatta indossare quando è mancata la signora Prandelli. Io divento matto, quando vedo certe cose: perché non abbiamo espresso solidarietà a un allenatore di serie A? O per la morte atroce del fratello di Kaladze, che è stato sequestrato per anni? Niente, non s'è fatto niente. Per Sandri sì, che aveva come unico coinvolgimento col nostro mondo quello d'essere tifoso".

"That Seedorf is one who doesn't like the current system, one only has to look at the death of Gabriele Sandri: (A Lazio supporter accidentally killed last year at a highway rest stop) he was the only player not to wear a black armband in mourning.

It wasn't for lack of respect, he explains. But when we went on the field, we didn't know anything. Who he was and what had happened. Nothing. What, for example, if he had been a Mafioso? I respect every human being, but I don't give my solidarity to an assassin. Instead, the football world reverses the responsibility of an event that had nothing to do with football. The actions by the football leaders were an act of fear for the purpose of political coverage. A week later, I put on the armband. But nobody had still explained to me why we didn't do this for Signora Prandelli? (wife of Fiorentina coach, Cesare, who died a few months ago).


I become crazy when I see certain things. Why didn't we express solidarity with a coach in the Serie A? Or for the atrocious death of Kaladze's brother (his Milan teammate from Georgia) who was held for years? Nothing. Nothing was done. For Sandri there was, who only shared in our world by being a fan."

Clarence Seedorf. A man who means what he says, and says what he means.

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1 comment:

Merengue said...

Nice interview. I have always enjoyed watching Seedorf play, he's always struck me as an intelligent and skilled player, now I am gald to read he's also intelligent and compassionate off the field too. Well done Seedorf, a player who'll probably best be remembered as being a winner wherever he has played.

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