Piet de Visser (football manager)

Piet de Visser (born 23 September 1934) is a Dutch football manager and scout. He is best known for scouting players like Romário and Ronaldo and successfully bringing them to Europe.[1] He is currently a personal adviser to Roman Abramovich, the owner of English Premier League club Chelsea.[2]

Piet de Visser
Personal information
Date of birth (1934-09-23) 23 September 1934
Place of birth Oost-Souburg, Netherlands
Club information
Current team
Chelsea (recruteur)
Teams managed
Years Team
19571963 Sparta (assistant)
19641966 DFC
19661969 Telstar
19691971 DFC
19711974 De Graafschap
19741976 NEC
19761977 R.W.D. Molenbeek
19781980 Den Haag
19801983 Roda JC
19831985 AZ
19851990 Willem II
1991 Willem II
19921993 NAC Breda



After a career as a player for De Zeeuwen, RCH and Zeeland Sport, De Visser became involved in management. In 1957, he started as a youth and assistant manager at Sparta Rotterdam.[3]

In 1964, he took his first assignment as a head manager at DFC and became champion of the second division in his first year. In 1973, while manager of De Graafschap, he and his club (which included defender Guus Hiddink) were promoted to the Eredivisie.[3] He subsequently became champion of the Eerste Divisie with NEC in 1975, and moved to the Molenbeek which had won the Belgian League the preceding season.[3]

He ended his management career in 1993, while at NAC Breda, due to heart problems.[4] He has since struggled with his health, beating cancer and undergoing five bypass surgeries.[2][5] During his career, De Visser managed Sparta, DFC, Telstar, De Graafschap, NEC, R.W.D. Molenbeek, FC Den Haag, Roda JC, AZ, Willem II and NAC Breda.[1][4]


After his career as a manager, De Visser became scout at PSV, where he was responsible for scouting players like Romário, Ronaldo, Alex, Jefferson Farfán, Heurelho Gomes and Balázs Dzsudzsák for the club.[1][6][7] He even scouted Adriano, but PSV coach Erik Gerets was not interested in signing the Brazilian.[6]

Chelsea / Roman Abramovich

Since 2005, De Visser also scouts for Chelsea and is considered a close personal adviser on transfers to club owner Roman Abramovich.[2] In one of his first scouting assignments for Chelsea, De Visser was responsible for the transfer of Arjen Robben from PSV to Chelsea.[8] Guus Hiddink, who played under De Visser at De Graafschap and who worked with him at PSV, was recommended to Abramovich for the position of manager of the Russia national team.[2] De Visser also recommended the hiring of Frank Arnesen to Abramovich, a move which was opposed by then Chelsea manager José Mourinho.[9] It was also De Visser who first recommended the signing of John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou to Frank Arnesen for Chelsea.[5][10] De Visser and Arnesen later clashed with former Chelsea manager Mourinho over transfer policy, with the two allegedly recommending Alex be brought over from PSV to solve the club's defensive problems, while Mourinho was said to have preferred Khalid Boulahrouz instead.[9]

De Visser has also been instrumental in assisting Abramovich in setting up a youth academy at Chelsea, modelled on the academy at PSV. According to De Visser, "Mr Abramovich is fed up that he has to keep paying millions and millions for big star players. He had to pay an absolute fortune to get players like Didier Drogba and Michael Essien. This is why he has asked me as a private scout to look out for top class young players who will be the Chelsea stars in three years time."[11]

De Visser was also instrumental in the February 2009 termination of Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari and the subsequent installment of Guus Hiddink.[12] According to De Visser, he alerted Abramovich of Scolari's lacklustre training methods: "I had to watch training sessions he was giving to the squad. I died of shock. It was so weak, his training sessions lacked every kind of sharpness. It made the entire squad lack sharpness in matches. I did not need a lot of time to conclude things were really bad with Chelsea."[12]


De Visser won the Dutch Second Division in his time as a manager. In 2005, he received the prestigious Rinus Michels Award for his entire oeuvre.[3] The award is named after Rinus Michels, who was named coach of the century by FIFA in 1999.[13]

Criticism of manipulative agents

De Visser has been openly critical of what he perceives as the manipulation of young players by player agents. He has said, "I want the player to get a good contract, and also that the football association and the club where the boy comes from gets a decent compensation. I would like to climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and shout across the continent, 'Boys watch out for shady agents!"[7]


  1. "Piet De Visser - Internationaal Voetbalscout". PSVZone. Archived from the original on 2006-06-30. Retrieved 2006-12-10.
  2. "Dutch scout is Abramovich's secret link". Telegraph. 2005-06-09. Retrieved 2006-12-10.
  3. "Oeuvreprijs naar Piet de Visser". Rinus Michels Awards 2005. 2005-05-28. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
  4. "Piet de Visser". Roda JC Spelers. Retrieved 2006-12-11.
  5. Simon Kuper (2006-10-13). "Teenage kicks, so hard to beat". Financial Times. Retrieved 2006-12-11.
  6. "De Visser on our midfield". World Cup Blog. 2005-06-20. Archived from the original on 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2006-12-27.
  7. "Meesterscout Piet de Visser". Sargasso. 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-06-15. Dutch: "Ik wil dat de speler een goed contract krijgt, en dat ook de voetbalbond en de club waar zo’n jongen vandaan komt een fatsoenlijke vergoeding krijgt. Ik zou wel op de top van de Kilimanjaro willen klimmen om het over het hele continent uit te schreeuwen: jongens kijk uit voor de louche makelaars"
  8. "Scout Piet de Visser stopt bij PSV". Omroep Brabandt. 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
  9. Matt Hughes (2007-01-15). "'Special One' has suffered a power cut". The Times. Archived from the original on 2007-01-15. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
  10. Matt Scott (2007-01-16). "Feud at the heart of Chelsea's troubles". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
  11. "De Visser reveals Chelsea's close PSV ties". TribalFootball. 2007-01-22. Archived from the original on 2007-01-26. Retrieved 2007-01-24.
  12. Bill Mills (2009-06-07). "Guus Hiddink believes he will make Premier League return". The Times. Retrieved 2009-06-13.
  13. Berend Scholten (2005-03-03). "Michels - a total footballing legend". UEFA.com. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
Preceded by
Kees Rijvers
Rinus Michels oeuvre award
Succeeded by
Wiel Coerver
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