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Remembering the glory days of the Dutch Golden Boot

The Dutch Golden Boot is like a mirage in the desert when it comes to the transfer market.

While on the surface it can look a tantalising sign of success, at a reasonable price, when it comes to producing the goods on the pitch there’s nothing to be seen.

Take the last four winners- Wilfried Bony, Alfred Finnbogason, Memphis Depay and Vincent Janssen- all whom earned big money moves to Europe before stalling.

But it wasn’t always like this. Put on your rose tinted glasses and take a walk with us through some of the best strikers to play the modern game, all who filled their boots in Holland before moving on.

1983-1987: Marco van Basten

When Wim Keift, himself a European Golden Boot winner, left Ajax in 1982 there was no doubt who was going to shoulder the goalscoring burden.

Van Basten scored 118 goals across four seasons, winning the Dutch Golden Boot every year, with his tally of 37 goals in the 1985/86 season also seeing him crowned the European Golden Boot.

He was finally prised away by Milan where he won the Italian Golden Boot a further two times, in an era when Serie A was the proving ground for strikers, before injuries cruelly robbed him of the end of his career.

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1988-1991: Romario

The Brazilian netted 67 goals across the three seasons he won the Dutch Golden Boot, although he was forced to share the last one with Dennis Bergkamp (more on him later).

He was a majestic striker, capable of scoring all manner of goals, but was at his best when the defenders presumed they had him under control.

A drop of the hips and swing of his tree trunk thighs later and the ball was in the back of the net with defenders and goalkeeper looking at each other in confusion.

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1991-1993: Dennis Bergkamp

Can you imagine if Mesut Ozil had the same ability to finish as he did pass? Well, no need to imagine, just fire up YouTube and spend hours watching Bergkamp making goalkeepers look silly.

The non-flying Dutchman shared the Dutch Golden Boot with Romario in 1991 before winning it outright with 24 and 26 goals the next two seasons.

He might have failed to adapt to life at Inter but eleven glorious seasons at Arsenal attest to just how good a player he was, not to mention he scored two of the best goals the World Cup and Premier League have ever seen.

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1994: Jari Litmanen

Can you name the only footballer to have played professionally across four different decades? You’ll have probably guessed that it is Litmanen, as it would be slightly random of us to bring it up if not.

He just about pips Sami Hyppia, Jussi Jaaskelainen and Shefki Kuqi to the title of Best Finnish Footballer Ever thanks to a stellar career playing for Ajax, Barcelona and Liverpool.

It was during his second season at Ajax that he won the Dutch Golden Boot, scoring 26 times as Ajax lifted the Eredivisie.

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1995: Ronaldo 

El Fenomeno arrived in Holland as a fresh-faced teenager but quickly set about showing the older pros how to put the ball in the back of the net with ruthless efficiency, scoring 30 goals in 33 league games.

His second season was obliterated by injury but when he did make it out onto the pitch he invariably scored, ending the campaign with 12 goals in 13 games.

The goals continued at Barcelona, Inter, Real Madrid and AC Milan, but so did the injuries. The thought of what he could have become without asbestos knees is frightening.

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1998-2000: Ruud van Nistelrooy

Van Nistelrooy dealt in the currency of goals. And between 1998 and 2001 business was booming.

His first season at PSV saw Ruud score a career high 31 goals, followed up by a prolific 29 the following campaign.

Goals followed wherever he went, whether in Manchester, Madrid, Hamburg, or with the Dutch national team, although we could never work out why his own fans booed him every time he scored. One of life’s little mysteries.

Best of the rest:

Since Van Nistelrooy netted 31 goals in 1999 eight players have gone on to score more than 30 goals in a single campaign. Can you name them?

First came Mateja Kezman, who scored 35 goals in 2003 to claim one of his three Dutch Golden Boots followed by Klass-Jan Huntelaar (33), Afonso Alves (34), Luis Suarez (35), Bas Dost (32) and Wilfried Bony (31).

A mixed bag, to say the least.