Frank de Boer

Franciscus "Frank" de Boer (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈfrɑŋg də ˈbuːr];[2] born 15 May 1970) is a Dutch football manager who is currently the head coach of Atlanta United. A former defender, De Boer spent most of his professional playing career with Ajax, winning five Eredivisie titles, two KNVB Cups, three Super Cups, one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Champions League and one Intercontinental Cup. He later spent five years at Barcelona, where he won the 1998–99 La Liga title, before retiring after short spells at Galatasaray, Rangers, Al-Rayyan and Al-Shamal.

Frank de Boer
De Boer as manager of Ajax in 2011
Personal information
Full name Franciscus de Boer[1]
Date of birth (1970-05-15) 15 May 1970[1]
Place of birth Hoorn, Netherlands[1]
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Atlanta United (head coach)
Youth career
1984–1988 Ajax
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1999 Ajax 328 (30)
1999–2003 Barcelona 144 (5)
2003–2004 Galatasaray 15 (1)
2004 Rangers 15 (2)
2004–2005 Al-Rayyan 16 (5)
2005–2006 Al-Shamal 1 (0)
Total 519 (43)
National team
1990–2004 Netherlands 112 (13)
Teams managed
2007–2010 Ajax (youth)
2008–2010 Netherlands (assistant manager)
2010–2016 Ajax
2016 Inter Milan
2017 Crystal Palace
2018– Atlanta United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

De Boer is the second most capped outfield player in the history of the Netherlands national team, with 112 caps.[3] He captained the Oranje to the semi-finals of both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000. He is the twin brother of Ronald de Boer, with whom he was a teammate at Ajax, Barcelona, Rangers, Al-Rayyan, Al-Shamal and the Netherlands national team.

After retiring from playing, De Boer went into management with the Ajax youth team and as assistant to Bert van Marwijk with the Netherlands national team. In December 2010, he took over as manager of Ajax and went on to win the Eredivisie title in his first season. In 2013, he received the Rinus Michels Award for manager of the year in the Netherlands after leading Ajax to their third successive Eredivisie title.[4] The following year, he became the first manager to win four consecutive Eredivisie titles.[3] He then had brief spells managing in Serie A with Internazionale in 2016 and Crystal Palace in the Premier League in 2017.

Club career


De Boer began his career as a left back at Ajax before switching to centre-back, a position he made his own for many years in the national team. He won both the 1991–92 UEFA Cup and 1994–95 UEFA Champions League while at Ajax, in addition to five Eredivisie titles and two KNVB Cups. However, after signing a six-year contract extension with Ajax for the 1998–99 season, he and his twin brother Ronald took successful legal action to have it voided. Ajax had a verbal agreement that if a lucrative offer for one brother came by, he would be released provided the other stayed. Ajax, however, apparently backed down on that agreement after floating the club on the stock market and pledging to shareholders that it would hold both of the De Boers and build around them a team to recapture the Champions League.[5]


In January 1999, Frank and Ronald de Boer signed for Spanish La Liga club Barcelona for £22 million, joining their former Ajax manager Louis van Gaal at the Camp Nou.[6] After winning the 1998–99 La Liga title, they were unable to repeat their earlier triumphs. In 2000, Van Gaal was sacked by Barcelona and Frank suffered the ignominy of testing positive for the banned substance nandrolone a year later. He was suspended but he was reinstated after a successful appeal.[7]

Later career

De Boer briefly moved to Galatasaray in the summer of 2003 before joining his brother at Rangers in January 2004. He made a total of 17 appearances for Rangers, scoring two goals. The De Boer brothers left Rangers after UEFA Euro 2004 to play the rest of their football careers in Qatar with Al-Rayyan. De Boer announced his retirement from football in April 2006.

International career

Having represented his national team 112 times,[8] he was the most capped player in the history of the Netherlands national team, until Edwin van der Sar surpassed him. De Boer made his debut for the Netherlands in September 1990 against Italy.

De Boer also played for the Netherlands in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, and the 1992, 2000 and 2004 UEFA European Championships. He is well-remembered for the arching 60-yard pass which allowed Dennis Bergkamp to score the last-minute goal that eliminated Argentina in the quarter-finals of the 1998 World Cup.[9][10][11] During Euro 2000, hosted in his home country and Belgium, De Boer reached another semi-final with the Dutch team. De Boer missed an important penalty kick in the first half of the semi-finals against 10-man Italy and another in the penalty shootout, which led to the Netherlands' elimination from the tournament.[12]

On 29 March 2003, in a home match against Czech Republic, De Boer became the first Dutch male footballer to gain 100 caps.[13] He ended his international career after an injury forced him to be replaced in a quarter-final match with Sweden at Euro 2004.[14] The injury ruled him out from the semi-final match against Portugal, which the Netherlands lost 2–1.[15][16]

Style of play

A talented and well-rounded world-class defender, in addition to his defensive skills, De Boer was also known for his pace, technical ability, accurate passing, and leadership, which enabled him to carry the ball out of defence, play it out from the back, or contribute to his team's offensive plays by initiating attacks and creating chances for strikers with long balls. A versatile, intelligent, and elegant left-footed defender, with an ability to read the game and intercept loose balls, he was capable of playing both on the left and in the centre, and was even deployed as a sweeper. He was also a dangerous set-piece taker, renowned for his accurate bending free kicks from anywhere around the penalty area.[17][18][19][20][21][22][23]

Managerial career

Entering management

In 2007, De Boer took up a coaching role at his former club Ajax where he was in charge of the club's youth sector. During the 2010 World Cup, he was the assistant of the Netherlands national football team to manager Bert van Marwijk, together with retired player Phillip Cocu.[24] The Dutch team reached the final of the tournament, losing to Spain.


On 6 December 2010, after the resignation of Martin Jol, De Boer was appointed caretaker manager of Ajax until the winter break. His first game in charge was a Champions League match against Milan at the San Siro, a match Ajax won 2–0 through goals from Demy de Zeeuw and Toby Alderweireld.[25] De Boer then went on to help Ajax become champions of the Eredivisie for the 2010–11 season in a 3–1 home victory over Twente, the champions of the previous year, on the final matchday, making the first year of his professional coaching career a golden one. "I couldn't have wished for a more beautiful birthday present", said De Boer, as the club's 30th championship was won on his 41st birthday.[26]

In two-and-a-half years at the helm of Ajax, De Boer won three championships, making eight in total (when including the five that he won as a player). According to reports, De Boer was offered the chance to interview for the Liverpool job but turned it down to remain with Ajax. "I am honoured by the request [from Liverpool] but I have only just started with Ajax", he said.[27] In 2013, De Boer received the Rinus Michels Award for manager of the year in the Netherlands after leading Ajax to their third successive Eredivisie title.[4]

On 27 April 2014, De Boer won his fourth successive Eredivisie title with Ajax, the first manager ever to achieve this in the Dutch league. Moreover, it marked the first time Ajax has ever won four successive Eredivisie titles. De Boer has now won a total of nine Eredivisie championships with Ajax as a player and manager, another record; Johan Cruyff, Sjaak Swart and Jack Reynolds all won eight Eredivisie championships with Ajax. Ajax finished the 2014–15 Eredivisie in second position, a massive 17 points behind champions PSV.

On 11 May 2016, De Boer announced his resignation as manager of Ajax following a disappointing season when Ajax again lost out on the Eredivisie title to PSV on the final matchday of the season.[28]


On 9 August 2016, after the departure of Roberto Mancini, De Boer signed a three-year contract with Internazionale for the start of the 2016–17 season.[29] De Boer's first match in charge was Inter's final pre-season friendly, a 2–0 win against Celtic on 13 August, played on neutral ground at Thomond Park, Republic of Ireland.[30]

The club management board also approved expensive signings João Mário and Gabriel Barbosa for the team and De Boer (they were in fact linked to Mancini and Inter in July),[31] and the return to Turkey of recent acquisition Caner Erkin in the last days of transfer window. Gabriel, however, was rarely used in Serie A matches and could not be registered in European competitions due to a penalty imposed on Inter for breaching UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations in previous seasons.

De Boer's first competitive match was a 2–0 away loss to Chievo on 21 August.[32] After the match, De Boer was criticized for using a three-man defence, a style that he had never used while at Ajax.[32] Milan-based newspaper Corriere della Sera went as far as calling Inter's performance a "disaster".[33] Fortunes soon turned, however, as Inter drew 1–1 against Palermo on 28 August, before winning three games in a row, against Pescara, title-holders Juventus and Empoli.[34] The win against Juventus was highly praised, with De Boer being lauded for substituting Éder for Ivan Perišić, who provided the winning goal.[35] Inter's form would not last long, as the club would go on to lose against Roma, Cagliari and Atalanta.

Inter also struggled in the UEFA Europa League under De Boer, as they lost the opening match 0–2 at home against Israeli team Hapoel Be'er Sheva on 15 September,[36] and 3–1 against Sparta Prague on 29 September.[37] Inter would then go on to finish last in their group with a total of six points, with three points under De Boer and another three under his successor.

Following a run of four defeats in the last five Serie A matches, which left Inter in 12th place in Serie A, De Boer was sacked on 1 November, having been in charge for only 85 days.[38] His last match was a 1–0 loss to Sampdoria on 30 October.[39] Ironically, during a press interview in the annual general meeting of the shareholders of Internazionale on 28 October, CEO Michael Bolingbroke had confirmed that the club was 100% backing De Boer.[40] (Bolingbroke himself resigned a few days later. Liu Jun, vice-president of sister company Suning Sports, replaced Bolingbroke.)

De Boer argued that he "needed more time" in order to make a mark as manager at Inter, and thanked his fans on his Twitter profile for the support.[41][42] He was replaced by former Lazio manager Stefano Pioli on 8 November, the ninth manager Inter have appointed since winning the Treble in 2010 under José Mourinho. Following Pioli's initial struggles at Inter, De Boer has hit back at the lack of leadership following Suning's takeover of Inter, which he credits for the lack of trust he was given while there.[43]

Crystal Palace

On 26 June 2017, De Boer was announced as the new manager of Premier League side Crystal Palace, replacing the recently resigned Sam Allardyce. He signed a three-year deal with the South London club,[44][45] but was sacked 10 weeks later when Palace lost their first four league matches of the season without scoring a single goal – the first team in 93 years to have begun a top-flight season in such a fashion.[46] He left having managed the team for only 450 minutes of game time of a Premier League team, making it the shortest reign of the Premier League era (in terms of number of matches, rather than number of days).[47] De Boer's only win came in an EFL Cup second-round game, in which Crystal Palace won 2–1 against Ipswich Town.[46][48] He was replaced by Roy Hodgson.[49]

Whilst at the club, De Boer attempted to implement a possession-based style of play; after his sacking, he criticised the club's players for their resistance to his approach, arguing that the club had signed only two players to fit his philosophy.[50] Palace winger Wilfried Zaha commented on De Boer's brief time at the club, stating "There wasn't really the right mixture [of players] for the way we wanted to play."[51]

Atlanta United

In December 2018, De Boer was announced as the head coach of Major League Soccer side Atlanta United, replacing Gerardo "Tata" Martino to become the second head coach in the club's history.[52] The team finished second in the Eastern Conference but lost the Eastern Conference final, meanwhile it claimed the U.S. Open Cup and Campeones Cup.

Career statistics


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals
Netherlands League KNVB Cup Super Cup Europe Total
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa de España Europe Total
1998–99BarcelonaLa Liga19242234
Turkey League Turkish Cup League Cup Europe Total
2003–04GalatasaraySüper Lig151000060231
Scotland League Scottish Cup League Cup Europe Total
2003–04RangersScottish Premier League1521010172
Qatar League Emir of Qatar Cup League Cup Asia Total
2004–05Al-RayyanQatar Stars League165165
Total Netherlands 328303054269844145
Spain 14451932050621514
Turkey 151000060211
Scotland 1521010172
Qatar 175175
Career total 51943508721251470167



Netherlands national team

International goals


Scores and results list Netherlands' goal tally first.
1.5 June 1991Helsingin olympiastadion, Helsinki, Finland Finland
UEFA Euro 1992 qualifying
2.9 November 1996Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands Wales
1998 FIFA World Cup qualification
3.29 March 1997Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands San Marino
1998 FIFA World Cup qualification
5.30 April 1997Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino San Marino
1998 FIFA World Cup qualification
6.1 June 1998Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands Paraguay
7.4 June 2000Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne, Switzerland Poland
8.11 June 2000Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands Czech Republic
UEFA Euro 2000
9.21 June 2000Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands France
UEFA Euro 2000
10.15 November 2000Estadio Olímpico, Seville, Spain Spain
11.2 June 2001Lilleküla staadion, Tallinn, Estonia Estonia
2002 FIFA World Cup qualification
12.27 March 2002Stadion Feijenoord, Rotterdam, Netherlands Spain
13.19 November 2003Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands Scotland
UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying

Managerial statistics

As of match played 30 October 2019[55]
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
Ajax 6 December 2010 11 May 2016 262 158 57 47 060.3
Inter 9 August 2016 1 November 2016 14 5 2 7 035.7
Crystal Palace 26 June 2017 11 September 2017 5 1 0 4 020.0
Atlanta United 23 December 2018 Present 47 28 4 15 059.6
Total 328 192 63 73 058.5



Al Rayyan


Atlanta United

See also


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  2. Frank in isolation is pronounced [ˈfrɑŋk].
  3. "Frank de Boer: Tottenham make contact with Ajax over manager". BBC. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  4. "Rinus Michels Award voor De Boer – NOS Sport".
  5. The De Boers tackle contract law New York Times, 29 July 1998.
  6. "Ultiem akkoord Ajax en Barcelona". Trouw (in Dutch). 16 January 1999. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  7. "De Boer takes on Uefa". BBC Sport. 28 August 2001. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  8. "Career Stats". Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  9. "Oranje in 1998 voor het laatst in kwartfinale". De Gelderlander. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  10. "Dutch defender Frank de Boer plays a sixty-metre pass, which finds a gap on the right side of the Argentina defence. At an unpromising angle, the ball drops from its high arc towards Holland's player of the age, Dennis Bergkamp, ..." Winner, David (2002). Brilliant orange: the neurotic genius of Dutch soccer. Overlook Press. ISBN 978-1-58567-258-5.
  11. Ginanjar, Asep; Asep Ginanjar; Agung Harsya (1 January 2010). 100+ Fakta Unik Piala Dunia. Penerbit Serambi. ISBN 978-979-024-212-8.
  12. Ruizenaar, Theo (25 June 2010). "Dutch must keep their eye on the prize, say coaches". The Province. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  13. "Interlands en doelpunten van Frank de Boer" (in Dutch). Voetbalstats. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  14. "Euro 2004 lijkt voorbij voor Frank de Boer". Voetbal International. 27 June 2004. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  15. "Dutch play on without captain; Frank de Boer's international career likely over because of injury to ankle". The Kitchener. 29 June 2004. p. C.9.
  16. "SOCCER REPORT; Dutch Defender De Boer Injured". Los Angeles Times. 29 June 2004. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  17. "FIFA Technical Study Group designates MasterCard All-Star Team". FIFA. 10 July 1998. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  18. Jamie Johnstone (15 December 2016). "Launching pad: Ranking the 5 best Ajax products". The Score. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  19. "De Boers join Barcelona after long dispute". The Irish Times. 16 January 1999. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  20. Greg Whelan (10 September 2017). "Frank de Boer determined to finish Crystal Palace project". Sky Sports. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  21. "Frank de Boer". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  22. Henry Winter (8 July 2017). "Frank de Boer interview: If you pass the ball, you have to do it with a message – not, here is the ball". The Times. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
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  31. "Inter Milan boss Mancini admits admiration for Joao Mario, Gabigol". 14 July 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  32. "Chievo-Inter 2–0: Birsa doppietta, falsa partenza per De Boer".
  33. Verona, Guido De Carolis, inviato a (21 August 2016). "Serie A, Chievo-Inter 2–0. Birsa rovina l'esordio a De Boer, squadra nel vuoto".
  34. "". FC Internazionale – Inter Milan.
  35. "Inter-Juventus 2–1: orgoglio nerazzurro, i bianconeri perdono la vetta". 18 September 2016.
  36. "Internazionale 0 - 2 Hapoel Be'er Sheva Match report - 15/09/2016 UEFA Europa League -".
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  39. "Calendario e Risultati – Stagione 2016–17 – 11^ Giornata – Lega Serie A".
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  51. "Wilfried Zaha gives the dressing room view as to why Frank de Boer failed at Crystal Palace". The Independent. 13 October 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  52. "Atlanta United hires Frank de Boer as Head Coach". Atlanta United FC. 23 December 2018. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
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