Jaap Stam was one of the most fearsome centre-backs of his era.
He starred for the likes of PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Lazio and AC Milan during a 15-year professional career.
The Dutchman also featured in the 1998 World Cup Team of the Tournament, and won the Champions League with United a year later.
He was known for his ball-playing abilities as a defender, brute strength and positioning. But it’s his supreme tackling that is perhaps best remembered.
UEFA posted a montage on Thursday showing some of the highlights of Stam’s career playing in Europe’s premier competition.
What is most notable isn’t necessarily the force of the tackles, but the ease at which he slides in and wins the ball with perfect timing – a common attribute of the most elite defenders.
His positional sense is also on show in the footage, with Stam making several vital interceptions. He was a nightmare for any attacker to play against.
Stam’s career profiled
Stam began his professional career with Dutch side PEC Zwolle in 1992.
After several moves across the Eredivisie, he left PSV Eindhoven to join Manchester United in 1997.
His spell at Old Trafford represented arguably the finest three years of his career. He made 51 appearances in all competitions during United’s treble-winning season.
However, he was sold to Lazio for a fee of £16.5 million in 2001. Sir Alex Ferguson has since called it a “bad decision” to have allowed the Dutch defender to leave the club.
He won the Coppa Italia in his final season with Lazio, before moving to Serie A rivals Milan in 2004.
At the age of 32, he appeared in his second Champions League final in 2005. Carlo Ancelotti’s side were 3-0 up at half-time against Liverpool before famously going on to lose on penalties in Istanbul.
He returned to the Netherlands with Ajax for a season before retiring in 2007.
Stam then stepped into management, and is currently the head coach of MLS side FC Cincinnati.
Featured Image Credit: Getty