Giovanni van Bronckhorst or popularly known as Gio is a Dutch professional footballer who was born on February 5, 1975 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. He started playing at the position of Midfielder but later played as Left Back for his team.
Bronckhorst began playing football with a young local team in Rotterdam, Linker Maas Oever at the age of 6 years. He later joined the youth academy at Feyenoord and in 1991, he accepted to begin his youth career with Feyenoord in the Dutch Youth League.
He made his debut for the senior Dutch team during the 1996 Olympics and he received his first full cap in August 1996 an a friendly match against Brazil where he came in as a substitute for Guus Hiddink at the Amsterdam Arena. His first international goal came during a match against South Africa at the FNB Stadium.
Rise to glory
Though Van Bronckhorst was in and out of the squad in international football but he gained much popularity during the later part of his career. He scored the winning goal in a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying match against Slovenia on March 28, 2007 and the Netherlands won that match 1-0.
During the UEFA Euro 2008, in a match against Italy, he assisted one goal and netted the ball once on his own and helped his team to win the match 3-0.
Bronckhorst got signed by Arsenal after the departure of Emmanuel Petit in 2001. But after a few months, he was sidelined from the team when he got his knee ligament injured. Without Van also, Arsenal won the Premier League 2001-02 and the FA Cup in 2002-03, so he didn't play much for them during the three years with them. He scored two goals in 64 matches in which he appeared for them in all.
Giovanni began his club career with Feyenoord in 1991 during the Dutch Youth League which they won. He played with them till 1998, appearing in 103 games in which scored 22 goals before moving to Rangers for a reported transfer fees of around £5-5.5 million.
He marked his debut for Rangers as he helped his team to comeback after they were trailing 0-3 and end up winning 5-3 in a match against Shelbourne. He went on to score 22 goals for them including three in the Scottish Cup and UEFA Champions League respectively before moving to Arsenal in 2001 for £8.5 million on a five year contract.
For Arsenal he didn't play much due to a major knee hamstring injury and moved to Barcelona during 2003-04. They won the 2005-05 Liga title where he showed fine performance as he scored four goals and also helped them to win the 2005-06 UEFA Champions League but in 2007, Bronckhorst decided to move to his former club Feyenoord.
He was part of the following club teams when they won the:
Feyenoord: KNVB Cup in 1994-95 and 2007-08
Rangers: Scottish Premier League and Scottish Cup in 1998-99 and 1999-2000
Arsenal: Premier League in 2001-02 and FA Cup in 2002-03
Barcelona: La Liga in 2004-05 and 2005-06 and UEFA Champions League in 2005-06.
He was also part of the Dutch team when they were the runner-ups during the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
After 2010 FIFA World Cup, he retired from professional football and was appointed as team assistance to newly appointed Feyenoord manager Ronald Koeman. They finished second in the Eredivisie and thus, qualified for the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League.
After such success, he was appointed as the new manager and in his second season for them, Feyenoord won the Eredivisie title for the first time in 18 years.