Friday, December 2, 2011

Edgar Davids

Edgar Steven Davids (born 13 March 1973) is a retired Dutch footballer and current member of the supervisory board of Ajax. After beginning his career with the Amsterdam club, he subsequently played in Italy for Milan and Juventus before a loan spell with Barcelona. He went on to play for Internazionale and Tottenham Hotspur before returning to Ajax. Having struggled with injuries for two years, Davids returned to competitive football during a brief spell with Crystal Palace before retiring at the age of 37.

He was capped 74 times by the Netherlands at international level, scoring six goals, and represented his country at the FIFA World Cup (once) and the UEFA European Football Championship (three times). His dreadlocked hair and protective goggles – which he wore due to glaucoma – made Davids one of the most recognisable players of his generation. A combative and creative midfielder, Davids was nicknamed "the Pitbull" by Louis van Gaal because of his marking ability. He was one of the players chosen by Pelé to feature in the FIFA 100, a list of the world's greatest living footballers. He was born in Suriname to an African father and Jewish mother. His cousin Lorenzo is also a footballer.

Early life
Edgar Davids was born in Suriname to an African father and a Jewish mother.

Club career
Early years : Davids started his career at AFC Ajax in 1991, making his debut on the 6th September in a 5–1 home win over RKC Waalwijk. He helped the Amsterdam club to three domestic Eredivisie titles, as well as continental success with the 1992 UEFA Cup and the 1995 UEFA Champions League. In the 1996 UEFA Champions League Final, he missed Ajax's first penalty in the shoot-out, which they ultimately lost to Juventus. While at Ajax, he was nicknamed "The Pitbull" by Ajax manager Louis van Gaal due to his fierce style of play and bite in the midfield.

Milan & Juventus : At the start of the 1996-97 season Davids moved to Italy to play for A.C. Milan. After an unsuccessful spell where he failed to establish himself in the first team he moved on to league rivals Juventus F.C. in December 1997 for a £5.3 million transfer fee.[9] Six successful years in Turin followed, with Davids helping the side to the Serie A title in 1998, 2002 and 2003. Juventus manager Marcello Lippi once described him as "my one-man engine room." On 17 May 2001, Davids was suspended by FIFA when he tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid, nandrolone.[10] He was often inspirational in Europe, playing 15 times as the club made it all the way to the UEFA Champions League 2002-03 final before losing to Milan on penalties.

Barcelona : Davids joined FC Barcelona on loan in January 2004 from Juventus. Joining midway through a season where the club was struggling in midtable and recently appointed manager Frank Rijkaard was under considerable pressure, Davids led Barça's successful resurgence of form which saw them finishing second to Valencia in the league. Davids' arrival has been cited as the catalyst for the Catalan club's dominance of Spanish and European football during the mid to late 00s, with Rijkaard winning La Liga the following season (after five years without winning the league title) and a La Liga and Champions League double in 2005-06.

Internazionale & Tottenham Hotspur : In the summer of 2004, he permanently moved on to Italian club F.C. Internazionale Milano on a three-year contract. When Inter terminated the remaining years of his contract in August 2005, he moved to England on a free transfer to play for Tottenham Hotspur F.C..[14] He had a successful stay at Tottenham and instantly became a fan's favourite. His first and only goal was in a 2–1 away win against Wigan Athletic. Davids played for Spurs in the 2005–06 and the 2006–07 seasons, both in which the club finished in 5th position.

Return to Ajax : Davids signed once more for Ajax on 28 January 2007 and played his first match against Ajax's rivals Feyenoord on 4 February. After the mid-season switch, Davids proved his value for the Ajax team again. He was one of the key midfielders in the run for the Dutch championship that was lost on one single goal to PSV on the final day of the league. He also played a major role in Ajax's cup campaign. He secured the KNVB Cup for Ajax by scoring the final penalty in a thrilling penalty shoot-out against AZ. Prior to the start of the 2007–08 season, Davids' leg was broken in a pre-season friendly against Go Ahead Eagles, sidelining him for around three months. In May 2008, Davids said he would leave Ajax when his contract expired on 30 June.

He played against Los Angeles Galaxy on 6 December 2008 in an exhibition match held at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, as part of an Oceania XI All-Star team, despite the fact he is not from Oceania and has never played for an Oceanic club or national team. Davids was in contract negotiations with English Championship club Leicester City from 22 October 2009. However, he failed to make a decision for over a week and the club withdrew their offer on October 30.

Crystal Palace : On 20 August 2010, Davids agreed a pay-as-you-play deal with English Championship club Crystal Palace. He made his debut on 24 August 2010 at left-back in the Second Round of the League Cup against Portsmouth. On 8 November 2010, he announced his departure of the club, stating it was "one of the greatest experiences of my life".

International career
Davids was an integral part of the Dutch national team since his debut on April 20, 1994 in Tilburg against Ireland (0-1), though he has not won any major tournaments for the Oranje.

During the UEFA Euro 1996, he was sent home by then manager Guus Hiddink for saying in a radio interview: "Hiddink should stop putting his head in some players' asses."

Nonetheless, Davids remained appreciated by Hiddink, who included him in the Dutch squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. Davids' most notable performance for the national team came in the 1998 FIFA World Cup second round game against FR Yugoslavia. He scored the winning goal in the last minute of the game and ensured that the Dutch team went through to the next round to meet Argentina. The Dutch national team eventually finished 4th overall and Davids was named to the official FIFA "Team of the Tournament".

Davids played in the UEFA Euro 2000 when he was named for the UEFA "Team of the Tournament". The Netherlands reached the semi-finals and played against Italy in a thrilling game that ended up being decided with a penalty shootout.

During the Netherlands' UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying matches, Davids scored the Netherlands' first qualifying goal in their opening 3-0 victory against Belarus and subsequently bossed the midfield in five of the remaining seven Group 3 fixtures and both legs of the play-off victory against Scotland.

After Euro 2004, new national team coach Marco van Basten appointed Edgar Davids as captain of the team. However, lack of first team football at his club Inter meant Davids also lost his place in the national team in October 2004, thus losing the captain's armband in the process, which was later handed to Edwin van der Sar. At the latter stages of the qualifying series for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in October 2005, he was re-called back into the national team, though not as captain. He fell out of the picture again shortly after, thereby missing out on the Dutch squad for the 2006 World Cup.

Davids was selected to appear on the cover of the football game FIFA Football 2003 alongside Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs and Brazilian international Roberto Carlos.

In June 2011, Davids was elected to the new supervisory board at Ajax alongside Johan Cruyff.

Personal life
He is engaged to fashion designer Olcay Gulsen.

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