Edwin van der Sar, the Dutch football titan and beloved former goalkeeper for Manchester United, finds himself in intensive care following a brain bleed last week. The 52-year-old legend, hospitalised in the Netherlands, is thankfully in stable condition and out of immediate danger, according to his wife Annemarie.
Born and bred in Voorhout, Netherlands, van der Sar’s incredible career journey is woven into the fabric of football history. With a career that spans over two decades, van der Sar is widely recognised as one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation. Starting his professional career at Ajax, he made more than 300 appearances for the Amsterdam club, cementing his place in the pantheon of football greats.
In 1999, van der Sar moved to Italian giants Juventus. Two seasons later, he made an unexpected switch to Fulham, where he wowed the crowd in four Premier League seasons. However, it was his time at Manchester United that marked the pinnacle of his career. The Dutch superstar was instrumental in securing four Premier League titles and the prestigious Champions League trophy during his tenure at Old Trafford.
Yet van der Sar’s influence extended beyond club football. He was a stalwart of the Dutch national team, earning 130 caps from 1995 to 2008. His towering presence between the posts, combined with his agility and lightning-fast reflexes, made him a fan favourite and a key figure for Oranje.
However, it’s not just in the pitch where van der Sar shone brightly. He’s also a devoted family man, married to Annemarie van Kesteren since 2006, with whom he shares two children, Joe and Lynn. Through triumphs and trials, the van der Sar family has remained closely knit, with Annemarie often spotted cheering her husband on from the stands.
“Edwin was repatriated from Croatia on Friday evening and is currently in the intensive care unit of a Dutch hospital,” Annemarie was quoted as saying by Ajax Amsterdam, where Van der Sar had recently held a directorial role. “His situation remains the same: stable, in a non-life-threatening condition and communicative.”
Despite his sterling career that shone on the pitch, this life-threatening incident reminds us of van der Sar’s humanity off it. He’s more than a figure between two posts; he’s a loving husband, a caring father to his two children, Joe and Lynn, and an admired icon in the world of football. The van der Sar family has thanked the ‘University Hospital of Split’ for their exceptional care, reflecting a poignant moment of humility amidst a challenging time.
The heartache of this situation stands in stark contrast to the highs van der Sar has experienced throughout his professional journey. It’s been a turbulent time for Ajax, who for the first time in 14 years, failed to qualify for the Champions League following their worst league season since 2009. Finishing a devastating 13 points behind champions Feyenoord, and devoid of any trophies, it has truly been a testing period. But if anyone can attest to the fact that trials forge strength, it’s surely Edwin van der Sar – a testament to resilience both on and off the pitch.