No one could know it at the time but for the 28 year old Van Basten, with the world at his feet, the 92/93 season would also be his last. Chronic ankle injuries were exacerbated during a December 1992 clash and sidelined him for six months. He made a return just in time for the 1993 European Cup final but after a heavy challenge from Basile Boli, Van Basten exited the pitch after 86 minutes. He would never recover.
After two years of rehabilitation Marco called time on his stellar career on the 17th August 1995. He made an emotional final appearance to thank the fans with an inconsolable Fabio Capello watching on. At just 30 years old arguably the greatest pure finisher the game has seen was gone.
It is a testament to the otherworldly abilities he possessed that Van Basten will always be seen as a ‘what if’ but on his 56th birthday it’s important to remember just how transcendently brilliant Marco Van Basten truly was.