TEN OF THE BEST
Gers hero Michael Mols shares his Ten of the Best
Various former players and staff talk about some of their favourite experiences and tales from football in 10 of the Best.
Dutch star Michael Mols remembers the toughest opponent he ever came up against, his best game for Rangers and the managers who had a big influence on his career.
Best Goal For Rangers
It’s difficult to pick out my best goal for Rangers because I enjoyed them all.
Perhaps my most important though was the first I scored for the club against Haka in July 1999. It was a Champions League qualifier in Finland and we won 4-1.
Lorenzo Amoruso scored with a great free-kick to put us ahead and then I managed to make it 2-0. Neil McCann passed the ball inside to me from the left wing and I saw the defender coming and turned away from him.
From around 20 yards I fired a right foot shot and it went across their keeper and into the top corner. For me it was a great relief to get that goal and I went on to score my second of the game before half time with another good finish. We won 4-0 with Jonatan Johansson also scoring so it was a good debut for me and I was pleased with my goals.
Best Opponent Up Against
The best opponent I came up against was Lilian Thuram when he played for Parma against Rangers in 1999.
He was very strong and quick and he enjoyed a fantastic career. After his time at Parma he went on to play for Juventus for several years and then Barcelona.
He also made over 140 appearances for France and won the World Cup so he was a great defender who played at the highest level for many years.
Best Memory From Childhood
My best memory from my childhood was when I was asked to play for Ajax. I went to their youth complex and I had to fill in a transfer form which confirmed I was moving from my amateur club to Ajax.
The moment I signed was very special because if you are a young boy in Amsterdam you dream about playing for Ajax. For me, at the age of 14 or 15, it was like a dream came true. If you are a Rangers fan when you are young you want to play for Rangers, if you are from Rotterdam you want to play for Feyenoord, for me the dream was to play for Ajax.
At that stage I wasn’t sure if I was going to become a professional player as I was still young but it was a big step for me.
Best Game For Rangers
Playing at Ibrox was very special and whether it was Old Firm games, European nights or league games I enjoyed them all.
But if I had to select my best game for Rangers, from a personal point of view, I would have to say it was when I scored four goals against Motherwell at home in August 1999.
At that time the team always played really well but in all my career I never scored four goals, apart from in this match. It was very early in my Rangers career, in fact it was my first league game at Ibrox, so it was a great day and I remember Lee McCulloch got Motherwell’s goal.
Best Time Of My Career
The best time of my career was at Rangers, not only football-wise but more about the life I enjoyed in Scotland in general. The respect and passion there with the supportive people was really good and I love going back.
I’ve played in a few games with the former players, including Fernando’s tribute game, and running down the tunnel and onto the pitch is just as special now as it was when I was playing for real.
Ibrox is a special place I hold very close to my heart and the fans are incredible. It’s been great to see over 40,000 of them at the recent play-off games and hopefully it will be the same against Motherwell in the final.
Best Managers Worked With
In terms of the best managers I worked under there are three; Dick Advocaat at Rangers of course, Bert van Marwijk who I worked with at Feyenoord and the Holland national team and my first coach at Utrecht who was Ronald Spelbos.
They are three great managers but they are also people who are very easy to get on with. They are very good man-managers and that is very important for me too. I ‘clicked’ with all three of them and I have good memories working with them during my playing career.
Best Advice I Could Give
The best advice I could give any young player at any club, not just Rangers, is to work hard but you also need to enjoy your football.
You also must have determination, this is crucial because it is often said that hard work beats talent and I believe this is true.
When I played at Ajax in my youth there were a lot of very good players, maybe more talented than me. But, at the end of the day, they didn’t make it because they only relied on their talent. If a player works hard and always tries to improve they will be more successful than someone who might have talent, but who doesn’t work at their game.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a perfect example, he is one of the best players in the world but he keeps working hard and always believes he can improve and get better.
Best Player I Played With
The best player I played with is hard to say. I’m asked this question a lot and every player has their own qualities.
For example you can’t compare Stefan Klos with Ronald de Boer. But if I had to pick one I would say Arthur Numan because he always gave me a lot of confidence in training!
I’m just kidding of course but Arthur was a great football player and a great ambassador for Rangers. More importantly, he is a great person.
Best Stadium Played In
The best stadium I played in, apart from Ibrox, was De Kuip, which is the home of Feyenoord. In England you have Wembley, in Scotland it is Hampden but in Holland you have De Kuip and it’s a great arena to play football in.
If you are the away team it can be an intimidating place but, at the same time, it is very enjoyable because these are the stadiums you want to play in if you are a professional footballer.
When you are young you hope one day you get the chance to play in big stadiums around the world and De Kuip, which has a capacity of just over 50,000, creates a fantastic atmosphere.
Best Old Firm Memory
My best Old Firm memory is an easy question to answer because it is every time we won!
In the past few years it has been hard for everyone because we have not had these games to enjoy and to play in them was a fantastic experience.
When I arrived in Scotland every person I met asked me about the Old Firm and even now I’m asked about those games. I scored two goals against Celtic, when we won 5-1 at Ibrox in November 2000 and when we won 3-2, again at Ibrox, in December 2002 so these were special moments for me and memories I’ll never forget.
The 5-1 victory was actually my Old Firm debut and I came off the bench to score, so that was a great one.
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