Klaas Jan Huntelaar is a professional footballer who currently plays for Ajax and the Netherlands football team. Born on 12 August 1983, the striker is the all time top scorer of the Netherlands Under-21 team and is regarded as one of the most prolific Dutch strikers to have graced the game.
Huntelaar joined local club VV H. en K at the age of six along with his brothers. The Prodigy spent six years training with the club before he was scouted by De Graafschap, with whom he signed his first youth contract in 1994, at the age of 11. It was at De Graafschap where Huntelaar blossomed into a brilliant striker. He spent 6 years with the club during which he was the top scorer of the B1 league with 31 goals in the 1999-2000 season, thus drawing the attention of top division team, PSV
Huntelaar emerged on the international platform when he represented Netherlands in 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship. He then went on to become the top scorer in UEFA Under 21 championship by netting 4 goals, 2 of which came in the final and helped the Dutch team clinch the title.
After becoming the top goal scorer in the youth league for PSV, Huntelaar made his professional debut in a 3-0 win over RBC Roosendaal in 2002. However this turned out to be his only match for the team as he couldn't make into the first team thereafter.
Huntelaar made his debut with the Dutch senior team in a 4-0 friendly win over Republic of Ireland. Scoring 2 goals in the match, Huntelaar became the first Dutch player in 28 years to score on debut.
Rise to glory
After his unsuccessful debut with PSV and a disappointing comeback for De Graafschap, Huntelaar joined second division team, AGOVV on loan in the 2003-2004 season. Finishing as the top scorer of the league, he moved to Frisian club Heerenveen for the next season. Netting 17 goals in 31 matches, Huntelaar carried his team to the UEFA Cup. He continued his form in the next season, at the end of which all the top clubs in the league came calling.
Huntelaar joined Ajax in 2006 and announced his arrival by becoming the top scorer in the league yet again. He then carried his team to victory in the KNVB Cup, where he netted a brilliant bicycle goal in the Semi-finals and scored twice in the finals. Huntelaar was awarded Dutch player of the year as well as Ajax player of the year for the season. He spent the next 2 seasons with Ajax and took his goal tally to a whopping 76 in just 92 matches.
Huntelaar spent the 2008 season with La Liga giants, Real Madrid where 8 goals came from his boot in 20 matches. 2009 saw him being transferred to Milan, where he had a decent season, scoring 7 goals in 25 matches.
Huntelaar decided to move again in the next season and was bagged by Bundesliga team Schalke 04, where he spent the bulk of his career. In his first season, Huntelaar helped the team bag their first trophy in 9 years which came in form of the DFB-Pokal championship.
Huntelaar finished with 29 goals in 34 league matches, thus becoming the first Dutch player to earn the top scorer award. Spending seven seasons with the club, Huntelaar scored 82 goals in 175 matches.
In 2017 he transferred back to former club Ajax and has remained with the club ever since.
Huntelaar was a part of the Dutch team which finished as the runners up in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He then went on to represent Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup as well, where they finished third. In 76 appearances for his country, Huntelaar has scored on 42 occasions.
Huntelaar went through a rough patch starting in November 2014 when he went goalless for over 1000 minutes and 13 games. The 2016-17 season also saw him spending a lot of time on the bench due to injuries and drop in form which resulted in his lowest goal tally at Schalke 04.