Fernando Ricksen

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Fernando Ricksen
Ricksen at Zenit in 2007
Personal information
Full name Fernando Jacob Hubert Hendrika Ricksen
Date of birth (1976-07-27)27 July 1976
Place of birth Hoensbroek, Limburg, Netherlands
Date of death 18 September 2019(2019-09-18) (aged 43)
Place of death Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Position(s) central midfielder, Right back
Youth career
1980–1986 EHC
1986–1988 RKONS
1988–1992 Roda JC
1992–1994 Fortuna Sittard
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1997 Fortuna Sittard 94 (5)
1997–2000 AZ 92 (12)
2000–2006 Rangers 182 (13)
2006Zenit Saint Petersburg (loan) 14 (2)
2007–2009 Zenit Saint Petersburg 22 (0)
2010–2013 Fortuna Sittard 48 (1)
Total 452 (33)
National team
2000–2003 Netherlands 12 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Fernando Jacob Hubert Hendrika Ricksen (27 July 1976 – 18 September 2019) was a Dutch professional footballer who played as a right back and central midfielder. After winning Eerste Divisie titles with Fortuna Sittard and AZ, he joined Rangers for £3.75 million in 2000. In six years with the club from Glasgow, he won two Scottish Premier League titles, two Scottish Cups and three Scottish League Cups. He left in 2006 for Zenit Saint Petersburg, initially on loan, and won honours including the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 2008. He was dismissed by Zenit in 2009, and spent the final years of his career back at Fortuna Sittard. Internationally, he earned 12 caps for the Netherlands between 2000 and 2003.

Ricksen was elected to Rangers's Hall of Fame in 2014. He suffered from motor neurone disease and died from the disease on 18 September 2019, aged 43.

Early life[edit]

Fernando Jacob Hubert Hendrika Ricksen was born on 27 July 1976 in Hoensbroek, Limburg, the Netherlands.[1]



Ricksen, formerly of Fortuna Sittard, joined Rangers in 2000 from Dutch team AZ Alkmaar for a transfer fee of £3.75 million.[2]

Ricksen endured a difficult start to his Rangers career, culminating in him being substituted after a torrid 21 minutes in a 6–2 defeat to Celtic. On his second trip to Celtic Park six months later, he was sent off before half-time in another defeat. He had been dropped for the two intervening derbies.[2]

In November 2000 Ricksen became the first player in Scottish football to be banned retrospectively on television evidence.[3] His Kung Fu-style kick on Darren Young had been missed by the referee but caught on camera, leading to a five-game ban. Ricksen subsequently used his personal website to suggest Young required "straightening out."[4]

2003–04 proved to be a failed season for Rangers, with the departure of several players from the treble-winning season, including Barry Ferguson and Lorenzo Amoruso. Ricksen, however, proved to be an important member of the Rangers team which finished second, playing 42 games, despite several injury and disciplinary problems throughout the season. In October 2003 Ricksen pushed then Rangers chairman John McClelland into a swimming pool before a match against Panathinaikos in Athens.[5] The same week he was banned from the Netherlands national team for smashing a hotel door down after a night out.[5] After the events Rangers banned Ricksen from talking to the media and manager McLeish said "We would rather have Fernando on the back pages and we have told him that."[5]

In March 2004 Ricksen was again banned by the SFA video review panel. He had elbowed Derek Riordan in a CIS Cup defeat to Hibernian, resulting in a four-game ban and a £10,000 fine from his club.[6]

The highlight of Ricksen's career at Rangers came in the 2004–05 season seeing him jointly win the SPFA player of the year award after scoring nine goals from midfield in his 40 appearances for the club, helping Rangers to a league and league cup double.

It remained unclear whether Ricksen would be seen as a key member of the Rangers team under new manager Paul Le Guen for the 2006–07 season. An alcohol-fueled incident involving a passenger on Rangers' outbound flight to their pre-season camp in South Africa, led to Ricksen being sent home by Le Guen, who later described his behaviour as "inappropriate and unacceptable for the way in which I have asked my players to conduct themselves."[7]

On 30 March 2014, Ricksen was inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame along with Lee McCulloch and Nacho Novo.[8]

Zenit St Petersburg[edit]

Ricksen moved on loan to Zenit St Petersburg on a season long loan on 9 August 2006, the Russian club's manager being Dick Advocaat, who signed Ricksen for Rangers. Two weeks later he returned to Ibrox in a friendly between Rangers and Zenit and was booed after injuring Chris Burke with what was described as a reckless tackle.[9][10] Weeks later, Ricksen engaged in an on-field fist-fight with Zenit captain Vladislav Radimov.[11] On 28 November 2006, Zenit St Petersburg announced that they bought out Ricksen's transfer from Rangers. Despite this, Ricksen again fought with Radimov during a match in January 2007.[11] In January 2009, after two and a half years in Russia, Ricksen was demoted to Zenit's reserve side, having previously refused to leave the club. On 28 August 2009 FC Zenit terminated his contract because of Ricksen's constant disciplinary misbehaviours.[12]

Back at Sittard[edit]

After being without a club for more than a year, on 2 December 2010 Ricksen agreed to rejoin his childhood team Fortuna Sittard, involved in their battle to escape relegation from the Eerste Divisie, signing a contract till the end of the season.[13]


Ricksen earned the first of 12 caps for the Netherlands on 15 November 2000, playing two minutes as a substitute for Paul Bosvelt in a 3–2 friendly win over Spain at the Estadio Olimpico de la Cartuja in Seville. His final cap was on 30 April 2003, a 1–1 home draw with Portugal in another friendly.[14]

In June 2003, after a UEFA Euro 2004 qualifier away to Belarus, Ricksen got drunk and kicked down two hotel room doors. He was subsequently ostracised by manager Dick Advocaat and did not play for the Netherlands again.[15][16][17]

Personal life[edit]

Fernando Ricksen and his wife attending the Europa League game Zenit St. Petersburg v PSV Eindhoven on 26 February 2015

On 25 December 2000, Ricksen was the subject of a report to the procurator fiscal after an incident when his car crashed into a lamppost in the early hours of the morning.[18] Ricksen denied charges of drink-driving, careless driving, committing a breach of the peace by shouting and swearing, and conducting himself in a disorderly manner.[19] At a trial in February 2003 Ricksen was found to have been twice over the limit and was convicted of drunk-driving, receiving a £500 fine and a 12-month driving ban.[19] He was acquitted of the other charges.[19]

In October 2003, Ricksen was fined £7,000 after being convicted of a breach of the peace and assault in relation to a drunken late-night house party he held the previous November.[20] Having initially denied the charges, in court Ricksen admitted conducting himself in a disorderly manner, causing a breach of the peace, repeatedly igniting fireworks, shouting and swearing and then threatening and assaulting a neighbour who had complained.[11][21] During the 2004–05 football season, Ricksen abstained from alcohol.[22] In July 2006 Ricksen checked himself into the Sporting Chance Clinic for residential treatment relating to alcohol abuse and anger management.[23] For the previous six months he had been receiving out-patient treatment from the clinic.[24]

Ricksen's daughter Isabella was born in 2011. In 2014 Ricksen married Veronika, who is Russian.[25] A documentary titled Fernando Ricksen: Hard Times[26] was aired on Sky Sports 1 on 3 May 2015. Ricksen was Catholic but later revealed his wish to convert to Orthodoxy.[27]

Ricksen wrote an autobiography, Fighting Spirit, which was published in 2014.[17]

Illness and death[edit]

On 30 October 2013, Ricksen revealed that he was terminally ill and had been diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (motor neurone disease).[28] He set up a charity that raised over £1 million for research into the condition.[29]

Ricksen died on 18 September 2019 in St Andrew's Hospice in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland, aged 43.[30][31][32] His funeral was held at Wellington Church in Glasgow on 25 September, attended by dignitaries of Celtic and Rangers, after which he was cremated in a private ceremony.[29]


  1. ^ Ricksen, Fernando; De Vries, Vincent (2014). Fighting Spirit: The Autobiography of Fernando Ricksen. Birlinn. ISBN 9780857908124. Retrieved 18 September 2019. Several eyebrows must have been raised in Hoensbroek, the quiet town in the Dutch province of Limburg where I was born on 27 July 1976, with the name of Fernando Jacob Hubert Hendrika Ricksen
  2. ^ a b "He's behind you". scotsman.com. 16 May 2004. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Ricksen banned for video nasty". The Daily Telegraph. 18 December 2000. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  4. ^ "A relaxed Ricksen puts his Celtic troubles behind him". highbeam.com. Archived from the original on 8 January 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "BBC SPORT - Football - My Club - Rangers - McLeish warns troubled Ricksen". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  6. ^ "BBC SPORT - Football - My Club - Rangers - Ricksen gets four-game ban". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  7. ^ "BBC SPORT - Football - My Club - Rangers - Ricksen fears for Rangers future". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Fame Awards For Trio". Rangers Football Club, Official Website. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  9. ^ "BBC SPORT - Football - My Club - Rangers - Burke crocked by Ricksen tackle". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  10. ^ "The Daily Record - SPORT - SCOTTISH FOOTBALL - RICK'S BACK ON THE BOOS". dailyrecord.co.uk. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  11. ^ a b c WSC 244 Jun 07. "When Saturday Comes - Fernando Ricksen". wsc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  12. ^ Official FC Zenit St. Petersburg website (Russian)
  13. ^ "Ricksen maakt vrijdag rentree bij Fortuna". voetbalprimeur.nl. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Fernando Ricksen - International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  15. ^ Livie, Alex. "Ricksen wants to help Oranje". Sky Sports. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  16. ^ van Leeuwen, Gerrit. "Ricksen no nearer Dutch recall". Sky Sports. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  17. ^ a b James, Stuart (1 March 2019). "Fernando Ricksen: 'I like living too much, I'm not ready to go'". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  18. ^ "Rangers player faces drink-drive charge". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  19. ^ a b c "Rangers star banned for drink-driving". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  20. ^ "News in brief". Telegraph.co.uk. 10 October 2003. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  21. ^ "BBC NEWS - UK - Scotland - Ricksen appeal after fireworks fine". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  22. ^ "BBC SPORT - Football - My Club - Rangers - Troubled Ricksen consults clinic". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  23. ^ "Login". timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  24. ^ "BBC SPORT - Football - My Club - Rangers - Ricksen praised for taking action". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  25. ^ James, Stuart (1 March 2019). "Fernando Ricksen: 'I like living too much, I'm not ready to go'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  26. ^ "Fernando Ricksen: Hard Times".
  27. ^ Вероника Риксен: «Заболев, Фернандо хотел принять православие. Но нам отказали»
  28. ^ English, Paul (30 October 2013). "Former Rangers star Fernando Ricksen breaks down in tears as he reveals he has Motor Neurone Disease". Daily Record. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  29. ^ a b "Fans applaud as ex-Rangers player Ricksen's coffin passes Ibrox". BBC News. 25 September 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  30. ^ "Ricksen succumbs to motor neurone disease". UEFA. 18 September 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  31. ^ "Fernando Ricksen". Rangers F.C. official site. 18 September 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  32. ^ "Fernando Ricksen: Ex-Rangers player dies aged 43 after motor neurone disease battle". BBC Sport. 18 September 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2019.

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