Professional sports and all major events have been banned in the Netherlands through Sept. 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That sound you hear is the bell tolling for the Eredivisie season, though UEFA still has to formalize the move. Dutch clubs are not alive in the Champions League or Europa League, and the nation’s federation says the ruling goes against closed door games, too.
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Ajax and AZ Alkmaar will finish the season with 56 points and Champions League places, while Feyenoord goes to the Europa League. Utrecht and Feyenoord will decide the KNVB Cup at a later date.
The UCL and UEL are going to be messy next year for leagues like the Eredivisie, which have qualifying playoffs.
There are a number of American prospects on top Dutch teams, headlined by USMNT right back Sergino Dest at Ajax (though he’s a man in demand). This list also includes Chris Gloster (PSV Eindhoven), Haji Wright (VVV Venlo), and Desevio Payne (Emmen).
Newcastle United’s soon-to-be vacant manager’s seat will be filled quickly, and there’s plenty of interest in the position.
While Jose Mourinho isn’t interested in being at the helm of a team which will not challenge for silverware, others believe Newcastle can be a place of success and want to take over for out-of-contract Rafa Benitez.
Sky Sports say that Claudio Ranieri is interested in making Newcastle his fourth Premier League job, having led Chelsea, Leicester City, and Fulham.
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Ranieri finished the season with Roma following his dismissal from Fulham, where he was one of three managers to fail in a bid to keep the Cottagers in the Premier League.
And Sky also says that Giovanni van Bronckhorst is intrigued by the idea of Northeast England. The 44-year-old Dutch centurion managed boyhood club Feyenoord from 2015-19, leading the club to two KNVB Cups and its first Eredivisie title in 18 years.
Gennaro Gattuso continues to be mentioned as a possibility, and the oddsmakers seem to think ex-Swansea boss Garry Monk, veteran manager David Moyes, and Man City assistant Mikel Arteta are the favorites for the job.
Robin Van Persie will likely close up shop on his playing career at the end of this season.
The Dutch star, 35, says he’s been playing since he was five and is ready to give his body a reprieve.
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“When I have to stop? That is probably at the end of this season,” he said. “I will be 36 years old and will have been a professional for 18 years. From the age of five, I’ve only been involved in football.”
Van Persie is back at his childhood club, Feyenoord, where he has six goals and two assists in nine matches. Those are fine numbers even for the free-scoring Dutch top flight, and come after he missed half of the 2017-18 season with an injury.
Feyenoord won the KNVB Cup last season and sits third in the Eredivisie through nine matches. That’s seven points back of PSV, who is plays Dec. 2. Feyenoord faces second place side Ajax in De Klassieker this weekend.
Van Persie said Feyenoord has helped him to recapture the fun of playing football.
“How is it successful? This is actually it, if you look at the whole picture. I had lost the fun. That’s not how I wanted to end, without pleasure. The fun has returned at Feyenoord.”
“RVP” scored 50 goals in 102 caps for the Netherlands, and nearly 150 Premier League goals between Arsenal and Manchester United.
Robin Van Persie had an eventful final few minutes as Feyenoord pulled into a crowded top of the Eredivisie table seven matches into the season.
With Feyenoord and 10-man Vitesse Arnham even at De Kuip in the 87th minute, van Persie took a free-kick from outside the top-right of the box and unleashed a cannon that found the far corner, past a wrong-footed Eduardo. It put Feyenoord up 2-1, and looked in great shape to move into third in the Eredivisie standings.
That is likely van Persie’s final significant game action for some time.
The 35-year-old lunged in studs up from behind on Vitesse substitute Max Clark, earning him a straight red card. That comes with the standard three-match suspension, which would leave van Persie on the sidelines for the team’s big match against second-placed Ajax on October 28. It’s a big loss for Feyenoord, as van Persie is now joint-third in the Eredivisie goal tally with six goals through the first seven matches.
On the other side, Vitesse eventually saw two of its own sent off. First, Thomas Bruns saw a straight red card in the 63rd minute for a dangerous tackle from behind, while Danilho Doekhi earned his second yellow three minutes deep into stoppage time after van Persie had already been sent to the showers.
Now, we’ve all become accustomed to seeing some of the ugly parts of the beautiful game.
Diving is undoubtedly one of the biggest problems we needed to clean up. And ridiculous videos like this one may help to do that.
Feyenoord’s Steven Berghuis got a little pat on his head from an opposition player at the weekend. It was a friendly ‘nice one, mate’ from Utrecht player Willem Janssen. That was it. Nothing more.
Yet this was how Berghuis reacted as he is being ridiculed across social media.
Now, we all know that ‘trying to win a free kick’ and other forms of embellishment are apparently part of the game. We don’t like it. But until VAR is commonplace at all levels of the game, players will continue to try and get away with whatever they can.
But incidents like this and some of Neymar’s antics this summer, coupled with the public ridicule that type of simulation has received, will surely act to dissuade future generations from attempting such outrageous levels of skullduggery.
We live in hope.
Word has it Berghuis is off to a swimming pool in Rotterdam on Monday to perfect his diving skills…