François Van der Elst
Van der Elst in 1977
||François Van der Elst
|Date of birth
1 December 1954 |
|Place of birth
||1.72 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in)
||New York Cosmos
||West Ham United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (goals)
François Van der Elst (born 1 December 1954 in Opwijk) is a Belgian retired footballer who played as a right winger.
His younger brother, Leo, was also a professional footballer. Both were Belgian internationals.
From 1969 to 1980 Van der Elst played for R.S.C. Anderlecht, with which he would go on to total 82 Belgian Pro League goals, surpassing 100 overall. In 1976 he was part of the 1975–76 European Cup Winners' Cup-winning squad, netting twice in the final against West Ham United (4–2) and, in the following season's league, was crowned the competition's top scorer at 21 goals, as the Brussels side finished in second position.
In January 1982, after a brief United States spell with the New York Cosmos, Van der Elst signed with West Ham United for £400,000, proceeding to score 17 times in 70 overall appearances. He finished his career back home, with K.S.C. Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen.
Van der Elst gained 44 caps and netted 14 goals for Belgium, helping the nation to the second place in the UEFA Euro 1980 tournament.
He was part of the squad that competed at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, playing the second half of the 0–3 loss to Poland for the second group stage, in Barcelona.