RKC Waalwijk (Holland), Feyenoord (Holland), Rangers (Holland),
Arsenal FC (Holland), FC Barcelona (Spain)
Giovanni van Bronckhorst (born May 5, 1975 in Rotterdam) is a
Dutch football (soccer) defender and midfielder, who currently
plays for Barcelona in La Liga.
Prior to joining Barcelona, van Bronckhorst played for RKC
Waalwijk (1993-94), Feyenoord (1994-98), Rangers (1998-2001),
and Arsenal (2001-03). He has earned over 30 caps for the Dutch
national team (as of the end of 2004), and played for his
country in the 1998 World Cup, Euro 2000 and Euro 2004.
Van Bronckhorst was already an international when he signed for
Rangers in 1998, joining up with compatriot Dick Advocaat, the
Scottish club's new manager. In his first competitive game for
Rangers, a remarkable UEFA Cup tie away to Irish League side
Shelbourne (although played at Tranmere Rovers' Prenton Park),
van Bronckhorst marked his debut with a finely-struck goal as
Rangers came back from 3-0 down to win the match 5-3. Van
Bronckhorst went on to score 22 goals for Rangers (13 in the
league, three in the Scottish Cup, one in the Scottish League
Cup, three in the Champions League and two in the UEFA Cup),
mostly as a play-making midfielder of notable skill and subtlety,
before an £8m transfer to Arsenal in the summer of 2001.
At Arsenal, although he was not particularly striving for first-team
action, he was not the revelation which Arsène Wenger was hoping
for when he signed him from Rangers as the midfielder only
managed to score only twice in two seasons although he did
appear in 42 matches for Arsenal FC. For the Netherlands, his
playing position was often as an attacking left winger which he
used to excel in at Feyenoord and during his international
stints during the late 1990s. However, during his playing days
at Arsenal, he appeared to have favoured the leftback position
even more although he was not widely known as a leftback
specialist. Such an example would be when he was playing for his
country during the Euro 2000 competition where he was started at
leftback whereas the fleet-footed Marc Overmars or the younger
Boudewijn Zenden would dominate the attacking left winger role.
He was benched by then coach Frank Rijkaard in that tournament
when incumbent leftback Arthur Numan stepped in for the match
against France in the first round and saw his international
appearances growing limited.
After Numan's retirement, later national team coaches seemed to
appreciate his leftback capabilities, most notably under Dick
Advocaat who chose him to play for the Netherlands in the Euro
2004 competition in Portugal. The Dutch team eventually reached
the semi-finals of the tournament where a rejuvenated Portugal
proved too strong for them, with van Bronckhorst struggling to
contain an impressive Luis Figo who hardly looked his age.
However, while international success seemed to elude him, he
recently won the Primera Liga title with Barcelona in the
2004/05 season after some of his finest displays together with 4
goals to his credit. In Spain, he even styled his shirt name to
the much-liked 'Gio' as opposed to his time at Arsenal where his
name was simply 'Bronckhorst', being one of the players with one
of the longest names at the club, if not the world.
Despite sometimes been mistake for Italian due to his first name,
his heritage is actually Dutch-Indonesian.