|Full name||Leo Albert Jozef Clijsters|
|Date of birth||6 November 1956|
|Place of birth||Opitter, Belgium|
|Date of death||4 January 2009(aged 52)|
|Place of death||Gruitrode, Belgium|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Throughout his extensive senior career, the tough stopper was mainly associated with KV Mechelen, with whom he won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. Also a prominent member of the Belgian national team, he was the father of tennis players Kim and Elke Clijsters.
Lei Clijsters was born on 6 November 1956 in Opitter, started his football career with local Opitter FC. Later, he played for Club Brugge KV, but left the club after a disappointing two-year stint; he started his career as a midfielder.
Subsequently, Clijsters represented K.S.K. Tongeren, K. Patro Maasmechelen, K. Waterschei S.V. Thor Genk, KV Mechelen and R.F.C. de Liège. With Mechelen, he won the Belgian Cup in 1987, going on to conquer the subsequent UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and European Super Cup. He added the Belgian League in 1988–89, always as club captain.
In 1988, Clijsters also won the Golden Shoe award as league's MVP, and eventually retired with Liège at almost 37. Immediately, he starting working as a manager with former club Patro Eisden, then moving to K.A.A. Gent, K.F.C. Lommel S.K. (July–December 1998), K. Tesamen Hogerop Diest (two spells, in 1999–2000 and November 2000 – June 2001) and Mechelen (July–November 2000).
Afterwards, Clijsters managed the professional tennis career of his daughter Kim. After her retirement, "Lei" became coach of third division club Tongeren, with which he had also played, in October 2007. He resigned in January 2008, after his family announced that he was suffering from a serious illness. Details were kept secret, but in February the Belgian press reported it to be metastatic melanoma and that treatment was not working.
Clijsters was married to Els Vandecaetsbeek until 2005.
On 4 January 2009, Leo Clijsters succumbed to the illness at age 52. Upon his death, Belgian newspapers like Het Laatste Nieuws revealed that he suffered from a recurrence of a melanoma which had spread to the lungs and other organs, having already experienced a bout of this condition twenty five years earlier.
- Lei Clijsters: "Je ne lis que des ragots" (Lei Clijsters: "I read nothing but rumours"); DH, 3 May 2007 (in French)
- Clijsters a baby mamma – and her mamma's a baby mamma too Archived 27 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine.; The Gazette, 18 March 2008
- "Beknopte geschiedenis van KAA Gent" (in Dutch). KAA Gent. Archived from the original on 9 July 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2007.
- Kroichick, Ron (27 July 2003). "Capriati, Clijsters reach final / Compelling matchup looms for Bank of the West title". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Kim Clijsters maman d'une petite fille (Kim Clijsters mother of a baby girl) Archived 13 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.; My Free Sport (in French)
- Belgium – Uruguay match report; FIFA.com
- Hughes, Rob (6 January 2009). "Farewell to the tranquil captain". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Father of Kim Clijsters dies; Sports Illustrated, 4 January 2009
- Belgium mourns Clijsters; UEFA.com
- Lei Clijsters overleden aan huidkanker (Lei Clijsters dies of skin cancer) Archived 6 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.; HLN, 4 January 2009 (in Dutch)