Robbie Rensenbrink was one of the finest footballers of his generation, a freescoring assist creating link between the midfield and front pair 40 years before Jurgen Klopp invented the role. A vital cog in the Dutch team that thrilled fans on the way to 2 World Cup finals (1974 and 1978), Rensenbrink is one of the few men named in 2 separate World Cup teams of the tournament. Twice runner up for the Ballon d’or, he won the first ever Onze d’or (currently held by one of the players whose roles on pitch he inspired, Sadio Mane) in 1976. He won the Cup Winners Cup twice with Anderlecht, including in 1976 when he murdered West Ham with 2 goals and one assist.
And yes, if his touch had been just that firmer, he’d have won the World Cup in Argentina with the last kick of the game before extra time. But then, if that had happened, I wouldn’t be writing this now, as the entire Dutch team wouldn’t have got out of Argentina alive.
Rensenbrink had been suffering from PMA, a rare and nasty form of ALS, for many years. He was a unique hit on the DDP for, err, my B-team. Yet the long wait for first unique hit for Pan Breed itself goes on and on and on….
3 July 1947 – 24 January 2020