Eric Gerets

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Eric Gerets
Gerets in 2012
Personal information
Full name Eric Maria Gerets[1]
Date of birth (1954-05-18) 18 May 1954 (age 69)
Place of birth Rekem, Belgium
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
Position(s) Right back
Youth career
1964–1971 AA Rekem
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971–1983 Standard Liège 318 (23)
1983–1984 Milan 13 (1)
1984–1985 MVV 12 (0)
1985–1992 PSV 200 (8)
Total 543 (32)
International career
1975–1991 Belgium 86 (2)
Managerial career
1992–1994 RFC Liège
1994–1997 Lierse
1997–1999 Club Brugge
1999–2002 PSV
2002–2004 1. FC Kaiserslautern
2004–2005 VfL Wolfsburg
2005–2007 Galatasaray
2007–2009 Marseille
2009–2010 Al-Hilal
2010–2012 Morocco
2012–2014 Lekhwiya
2014–2015 Al Jazira
Medal record
Representing  Belgium
UEFA European Championship
Runner-up 1980
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Eric Maria Gerets[2] (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈeːrɪk ˈxeːrəts],[3] born 18 May 1954) is a Belgian football manager and former player who played as a right back.

He started his playing career as an amateur for his local team AA Rekem, before achieving success with Standard Liège and PSV. Nicknamed "The Lion (of Flanders)", Gerets was regarded as one of the top right backs in Europe at his peak and is considered one of the greatest players in Belgian football history. He is famous for having captained PSV to their first and only European Cup win in 1988.

As a coach, Gerets is best known for his advocacy of systems thinking. He is one of six managers – along with José Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Giovanni Trapattoni, Tomislav Ivić and Ernst Happel – to have won top domestic league championships in at least four countries.

Club career[edit]

Gerets began his career playing for amateur side AA Rekem before joining then titleholders Standard de Liège. Making his debut 16 April 1972 coming on for Silvester Takač against FC Diest. In the 1972–73 season Standard reached the Cup final, manager Vlatko Marković let Gerets start despite not being an established first team member as Standard lost 2–1 to fierce rivals Anderlecht. The following season, Gerets replaced 29-year-old Jacques Beurlet and became the first choice right back for the Rouches. In 1975 Gerets made his debut for the national team.

Gerets played for Standard Liège, Milan, MVV Maastricht and PSV, winning among others the 1987–88 European Cup, two Belgian championships and six Dutch championships.

Gerets was an offensively-minded right back, known for his stamina, tactical discipline, grit and mental toughness. He was also known for long distance throw-ins.

He is the third-most capped player for the Belgium national team, with 86 appearances and two goals.

Standard Liège[edit]

Gerets in 1976

In the 1980s, a new generation of players emerged at Standard. Noted manager Ernst Happel was hired, and later the club brought Raymond Goethals back to Belgium. Players like Arie Haan, Guy Vandersmissen, Michel Preud'homme, Walter Meeuws, Jos Daerden and Simon Tahamata became key players, whilst Gerets was the captain of the team. In 1980, Standard finished runners-up in the league, before winning the 1981 National Cup with a 4–1 win over Lokeren SC. In 1982, Standard won the title by beating Waterschei SV Thor in the last match of the season. A few days later, they faced Barcelona in the European Cup Winners' Cup final, which they lost 2–1. The influence of Gerets on Standard's success was recognised when he was awarded the 1982 Belgian Golden Shoe. The following year he captained Standard to another league title, their ninth overall, which would prove to be their last until 2007–08.


Gerets (left) and Frits Philips (right) posing with the European Cup

In 1985, Gerets joined PSV playing together with Ruud Gullit, Frank Arnesen, Huub Stevens and Willy van de Kerkhof followed by Brazilian star Romário. In 1986, Gerets won the title with PSV, and after the departure of Gullit in 1987, Gerets became the new captain. Under Guus Hiddink PSV won the league and cup double three years in a row, Gerets scoring twice in the cup final against Roda JC. In 1988 PSV reached the UEFA European Cup final facing Benfica. After 120 minutes, it was still 0–0; PSV eventually won on penalties.

In 1990, Bobby Robson was appointed as Hiddink's successor. Under Robson, Gerets won another two titles with PSV then he retired at the end of the 1991–1992 season at the age of 37.

International career[edit]

Gerets registered 86 caps for the Belgium national team. He made his debut for the squad in 1975, and played at four major tournaments: the 1980 European Championship, 1982 World Cup, 1986 World Cup, and 1990 World Cup.

In 1980, Gerets played in his first European Championship in Italy. He scored the opening goal in a 2–1 win against Spain which ensured Belgium qualified as group winners. The tournament is remembered for the inspired performance of the offensively-minded Belgium (around rising stars such as Jan Ceulemans, Eric Gerets, Jean-Marie Pfaff and Erwin Vandenbergh) who unexpectedly reached the final, only losing to West Germany (1–2) by a Hrubesch goal two minutes from time.

At the 1982 World Cup, Belgium, captained by Gerets, recorded one of their most famous victories with a 1–0 win over defending champions Argentina in the first game of the tournament held at Camp Nou with a goal by Erwin Vandenbergh, and an excellent defensive display to hold off a young Diego Maradona.

Four years later, they achieved their best World Cup run at that time in 1986 when they placed fourth under command of players like Jan Ceulemans, Jean-Marie Pfaff and captain Gerets. Belgium surprisingly won against favourites the Soviet Union with stars such as Igor Belanov and Rinat Dasayev (3–4) after extra time. Belgium also beat Spain on penalties, but they lost to eventual champions Argentina in the semi-final (0–2), inspired by Maradona. Despite their defeat, Belgium would end up in fourth place – their best finish in World Cup competition until it was surpassed in 2018 when they reached third place.

Gerets would also captain his nation to the 1990 World Cup finals. Belgium failed to convert their chances against England in the second round. They lost in the last minute of extra time after a goal by David Platt.

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Belgium's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 15 June 1980 Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan  Spain 1–0 2–1 Euro 1980
2. 14 October 1986 Stade Municipal, Luxembourg  Luxembourg 1–0 6–0 Euro 1988 qualifier

Managerial career[edit]

Gerets after the celebration of Al Hilal in the 2009–10 Saudi Pro League

As a manager, Gerets worked successively for RFC Liège, Lierse, Club Brugge, PSV, 1. FC Kaiserslautern and VfL Wolfsburg before joining Galatasaray at the end of the 2004–05 season. In the 1996–97 season, he won the Belgian championships with Lierse, reprising the feat in the season 1998–99 with Club Brugge. He also won the Dutch championships twice (1999–2000 and 2000–01) with PSV. In the 2005–06 season, Gerets won the Turkish Premier Super League with Galatasaray. In May 2007, he left the club, and on 25 September became Marseille's coach.

In his first year with Marseille in 2007, he managed to get the team from the bottom of the league up to finish their 2007–08 season in third place. On 29 April 2009, he confirmed that he would not be in charge of Marseille after the summer when his contract expired.[4] On 26 May 2009, he signed a contract to take over as head coach of Saudi club Al-Hilal for two years for an annual fee of €1.8 million.[5] On 6 July 2010, he signed a four-year contract with Morocco. He would do the job part-time until he completed the Asian Champions League campaign with Al Hilal but stranded in the semi-finals.[6] He was in charge of Morocco for almost two years. He was sacked on 15 September 2012 after a Morocco's 2–0 defeat against Mozambique in the first-leg of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualification.[7]

Less than a month after leaving Morocco, he accepted a contract offer to become the head coach of Qatari defending champions Lekhwiya on 9 October 2012.[8] In the 2013–14 season, he brought another Qatari championship title to Lekhwiya.

Gerets departed Lekhwiya and became the head coach of the United Arab Emirates team Al Jazira Club on 20 May 2014.[9]

Managerial statistics[edit]

Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Liège July 1992 June 1994 71 20 19 32 028.17
Lierse July 1994 June 1997 113 55 29 29 048.67
Club Brugge June 1997 June 1999 91 60 15 16 065.93
PSV July 1999 May 2002 141 86 29 26 060.99
1. FC Kaiserslautern September 2002 February 2004 58 19 13 26 032.76
VfL Wolfsburg April 2004 May 2005 44 18 5 21 040.91
Galatasaray June 2005 May 2007 91 50 22 19 054.95
Marseille September 2007 June 2009 97 47 23 27 048.45
Al-Hilal July 2009 November 2010 48 35 7 6 072.92
Morocco July 2010 September 2012 18 7 5 6 038.89
Lekhwiya October 2012 May 2014 77 44 13 20 057.14
Al-Jazira June 2014 June 2015 27 16 3 8 059.26
Total 876 457 183 236 052.17



Standard Liège[10][edit]






Lierse SK[31][edit]

Club Brugge[32][edit]



Al Hilal SFC[34][edit]





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  3. ^ In isolation, Gerets is pronounced Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣeːrəts].
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External links[edit]