Sittard (Holland), PSV Eindhoven (Holland), FC Barcelona (Spain)
Mark van Bommel (born April 22, 1977 in Maasbracht, Netherlands)
is a Dutch footballer, who currently plays for FC Barcelona.
Van Bommel first started his amateur career in local club RKVV
Maasbracht before earning a professional contract to play for
Fortuna Sittard in 1992. His other colleagues at Fortuna at that
time who would later join PSV Eindhoven alongside him were
Wilfred Bouma and Kevin Hofland, although Fortuna were nothing
close to championship winning team even with these then budding
talents in the side.
His strength at central midfield position has led Dutch giants
PSV to sign him in 1999 where he has won three Eredivisie titles
with the club. He even won Dutch Player of the Year title in
2001 for his performances. His debut for the Dutch national team
was on October 7, 2000 against Cyprus which his team comfortably
won 4-0. For PSV, his midfield role was further enhanced with
partnership of Swiss international Johann Vogel with whom he
forged a powerful midfield force rivalling that of Ajax
Amsterdam's. However, for the Oranje, he has yet to feature in a
major tournament, with the Dutch failing to qualify for the 2002
World Cup and he was overlooked for the Euro 2004 in Portugal.
In his final season with PSV, having assisted the team to the
Dutch title and a Champions League semi-final place, he was
expected to join his father-in-law Bert van Marwijk who
currently manages the German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund
in the January transfer window but snubbed the transfer and was
content to remain at PSV until the end of the 2004/2005 season.
This would mean that PSV would not be able to cash in on their
biggest asset but his performances in this season has probably
more than made up for that potential loss with Champions League
revenue by far the biggest attraction. Until after the Champions
League semi-final loss to AC Milan, his transfer destination is
shrouded with speculations among them linking him to Spain to
play for FC Barcelona of which rivals Real Madrid are also
tipped to win his signature under the Bosman ruling who were
eager to seek a combative defensive midfielder in the same mould
as French player Claude Makelele. With the Eredivisie title
safely in PSV's hands at the end of April, he confirmed his
intention to join FC Barcelona in May 2005 after Barcelona's
capture of the La Liga title.
Despite such a prospective move to a more illustrious club, the
Dutch national team manager Marco van Basten was dissatisfied
with his level of commitment to the national side's cause as he
allegedly turned in indifferent displays in World Cup
qualification matches as of late and was promptly told that he
may no longer feature for the 'Oranje' (at least not under van
Basten's management). This particular development occurred
during the match against Romania which the Dutch team won 2-0
but van Bommel was singled out by his national team manager for
poor performance and was not chosen for the subsequent
qualification match against Finland. By so doing, van Basten
would have been setting the precedent which have befallen
Patrick Kluivert and Clarence Seedorf who have since been
ignored for selection for the national team.
His international statistics stand at 33 caps for the Dutch with
seven goals to his credit. He has won the Dutch player of the
Year award for two times in 2001 and 2002 as well as the Johan
Cruijff Shield in 2001 and 2003.