Rob Rensenbrink

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Rob Rensenbrink
Rob Rensenbrink (1978).jpg
Rensenbrink in 1978
Personal information
Date of birth (1947-07-03)3 July 1947[1]
Place of birth Amsterdam, Netherlands[1]
Date of death 24 January 2020(2020-01-24) (aged 72)
Place of death Oostzaan, Netherlands
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[1]
Position(s) Left winger, forward
Youth career
1954–1965 DWS
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1965–1969 DWS 120 (34)
1969–1971 Club Brugge 55 (24)
1971–1980 Anderlecht 262 (143)
1980–1981 Portland Timbers 18 (6)
1981–1982 Toulouse 12 (1)
Total 467 (208)
National team
1968–1979 Netherlands 46 (14[2])
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Rob Rensenbrink (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɔp ˈrɛnsə(m)ˌbrɪŋk]; 3 July 1947 – 24 January 2020) was a Dutch footballer and member of the Netherlands national team that reached two World Cup finals in 1974 and 1978. A creative and prolific left winger or forward, he became a legend in Belgium whilst playing in the great Anderlecht side of the 1970s. He is the UEFA Cup Winners Cup's all-time top scorer, with 25 goals. A talented dribbler as well as a cool finisher and adequate passer, he only ever missed two penalties in his entire career. He was also the first winner of the Onze d'Or. Considered as one of the greatest Dutch players of all time. Rensenbrink was widely regarded to be one of the best left wingers of the 1970s.

Club career[change | change source]

Born in Amsterdam, Rensenbrink started his career at DWS, an Amsterdam amateur club, before moving to Belgian side Club Brugge in 1969. Between 1971 and 1980 he played for Anderlecht where he enjoyed his greatest club successes. In total when in Belgium he twice won the Belgian Championships, the Belgian Cup five times and at European club level the European Cup Winners' Cup twice (in 1976 and 1978 as well as being runner-up in 1977). Rensenbrink delivered a notable performance in the 1976 final as Anderlecht ran out 4–2 winners against West Ham United. He scored two goals, one from the penalty spot and set up Francois Van der Elst for the fourth goal.[3] Among his team mates was Dutch internationalist compatriot, Arie Haan. In 1980, he left Anderlecht and wound down his career with a spell at Portland Timbers in the NASL, followed by a brief stay with Toulouse in France in 1981.


International career[change | change source]

Rensenbrink made his international debut for the Netherlands national football team against Scotland in 1968, but picked up relatively few caps due to competition for the forward positions with Johan Cruijff and Piet Keizer. However, Rinus Michels included him for the 1974 FIFA World Cup squad that made the short trip to West Germany.

The Dutch side that took part in the 1974 FIFA World Cup were the pinnacle of Total Football. Most of the 1974 team were made up of players from AFC Ajax and Feyenoord, so Rensenbrink was an outsider and was unfamiliar with playing the system. His preferred position was up front on the left, but that position was already Johan Cruijff's domain, so he played on the left-wing position in midfield, taking over from Ajax player Piet Keizer. He missed one game in the tournament (when Keizer played instead) and was only half-fit for the final after picking up an injury during the semi-final against Brazil. Rinus Michels gambled on Rensenbrink's fitness and played him from start – however he only lasted until half-time and was replaced by René van de Kerkhof. The Netherlands took an early lead through a Johan Neeskens penalty, but goals from Paul Breitner and Gerd Müller gave West Germany a 2–1 victory. Rensenbrink's performances saw him named to the team of the tournament and he was sought by Ajax as a replacement for Keizer. However, contract negotiations fell through and he remained at Anderlecht.[4]

Rensenbrink stayed in the Netherlands national team during the qualifiers and finals of the 1976 European Football Championship. However, the Netherlands fell at the semi-final stage to Czechoslovakia.

In the 1978 FIFA World Cup tournament in Argentina, the Netherlands again reached the final, but this time without Cruijff (who decided to retire from international football) and under the guidance of Ernst Happel rather than Michels. Out of the shadow of Cruijff, Rensenbrink found more room to showcase his own considerable talent, playing on the left-hand side of a front three alongside Johnny Rep and René van de Kerkhof. He scored a hat-trick in the opening game against Iran, another goal against Scotland which was goal number 1000 in World Cup history and a penalty in the 5–1 win over Austria. In the final against Argentina, the Netherlands yet again met the hosts. In an intense match, the Netherlands fell behind to a first-half Mario Kempes strike. After Dick Nanninga's equalizer 9 minutes from time, a long pass from the Dutch captain Ruud Krol in the last 30 seconds of normal time gave Rensenbrink a half-chance to score but his shot from a very narrow angle was deflected on to the post and bounced clear. Had he scored, it is almost certain that Holland would have won the World Cup with Rensenbrink being top goal scorer. Argentina scored twice in extra-time for a 3–1 victory and the Netherlands again had to settle for the runners-up spot.[5]

Rensenbrink played some of the qualifiers for Euro 80, but after earning his 46th cap in 1979 (a 2–0 defeat by Poland in a qualifier for Euro 80), he retired from international football at the age of 32, having scored 14 times for his country. He along with Eusébio are the only players to score the most goals from a penalty spot in a tournament (4 in 1978).

He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004. He was also named Anderlecht's greatest ever foreign player in 2008.

Personal life[change | change source]

Rensenbrink was married and lived in Oostzaan. In the summer of 2015, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with progressive muscular atrophy three years earlier.[6] He died on 24 January 2020. Belgian news sources reported that he had been diagnosed with a muscular disease in 2012 which led to his death.[7]

Career statistics[change | change source]

Club[change | change source]

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition[1]
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
DWS 1965–66 Eredivisie 23 5 3 0 26 5
1966–67 29 4 2 0 2 0 33 4
1967–68 34 10 3 0 2 1 39 11
1968–69 34 15 4 3 5 1 43 19
Total 120 34 12 3 0 0 9 2 0 0 141 39
Club Brugge 1969–70 First Division 27 10 4 3 31 13
1970–71 28 14 6 2 34 16
Total 55 24 0 0 10 5 0 0 65 29
Anderlecht 1971–72 First Division 30 16 2 0 32 16
1972–73 24 16 4 4 28 20
1973–74 29 20 2 3 31 23
1974–75 35 19 6 3 41 22
1975–76 35 23 9 8 44 31
1976–77 34 16 9 7 4[a] 2 43 23
1977–78 24 18 7 5 31 23
1978–79 31 12 2 0 2[b] 1 33 12
1979–80 20 3 1 0 21 3
Total 262 143 0 0 42 30 4 3 308 176
Portland Timbers 1980 NASL 18 6 18 6
Toulouse 1981–82 Division 2 12 1 12 1
Career total 467 208 12 3 0 0 61 37 4 3 544 251
  1. Appearances in 1976 European Super Cup
  2. Appearances in 1978 European Super Cup

International[change | change source]

Appearances and goals by national team and year[2]
National team Year Apps Goals
Netherlands 1968 3 0
1969 4 0
1970 1 0
1971 0 0
1972 0 0
1973 2 0
1974 12 4
1975 1 0
1976 6 3
1977 3 0
1978 12 7
1979 2 0
Total 46 14

Honours[change | change source]

Rob Rensenbrink in 1974

Club Brugge[8]

Anderlecht[9]

Toulouse

Netherlands

Individual

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Rensenbrink career stats". Football Database.eu. Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Rob Rensenbrink – International Appearances" Archived 1 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine. RSSSF. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  3. "RSCA TV – Classic – 1976 – RSC Anderlecht vs West Ham United – UEFA Cup Winner's Cup Final". Archived from the original on 21 December 2021 – via www.youtube.com.
  4. "Player Profile on Robbie Rensenbrink". World Soccer, 1977. Archived from the original on 13 May 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  5. Caple, Alex (29 September 2017). "Rob Rensenbrink: A Post Away From Being A Legend". The Versed. Clickon Media. Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  6. Rob Rensenbrink lijdt aan afgeleide van spierziekte ALS Archived 30 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine – Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch)
  7. "Netherlands forward Rob Rensenbrink dies at age 72". Associated Press. 26 January 2020. Archived from the original on 26 January 2020. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  8. "Club Brugge | Palmares". 8 July 2017. Archived from the original on 18 July 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
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  20. "Cup Winners Cup Topscorers". www.rsssf.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2018. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  21. "ПЕРШЕНСТВА УКРАЇНИ З ФУТБОЛУ" (PDF). 23 August 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
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  25. "Ballon d'Or 1978". Archived from the original on 5 June 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  26. ""Onze Mondial" Awards". www.rsssf.com. Archived from the original on 4 July 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  27. "1978 FIFA World Cup Argentina – Awards". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on 7 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  28. "World Cup 1978". Planetworldcup.com. Archived from the original on 28 August 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  29. "101 voetbaliconen: (81) Rob Rensenbrink". Archived from the original on 21 October 2020. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  30. "France Football's World Cup Top-100 1930-1990". www.rsssf.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  31. "The Best x Players of the Century/All-Time". www.rsssf.com. Archived from the original on 20 August 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  32. "FIFA 100". Archived from the original on 20 December 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  33. "Os 100 Craques das Copas (Placar Magazine)". Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  34. "Club, Anderlecht en Oranje rouwen om slangenmens Robbie Rensenbrink". 25 January 2020. Archived from the original on 19 October 2020. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  35. "Rensenbrink beste speler van Anderlecht allertijden". 16 May 2008. Archived from the original on 21 October 2020. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  36. "Het beste Gouden Schoen-elftal ooit". Archived from the original on 26 October 2020. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
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  38. "La Dernière Heure | Het Beste Elftal Aller Tijden". Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 17 January 2022.

Other websites[change | change source]