Willy van der Kuijlen dead at 74: Tributes to Dutch icon and Eredivisie all-time top scorer who was battling Alzheimer's

DUTCH football legend and all-time top Eredivisie scorer Willie van der Kuijlen has passed away at the age of 74.

The iconic striker's family revealed last year he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and according to AD he is now confirmed to have died.

Van der Kuijlen scored a remarkable 311 goals in 545 Eredivisie games between the 1964-65 campaign and his last professional season in 1981-82.

All but three of those goals came as a PSV Eindhoven player where he spent almost his entire career.

The prolific forward spent 18 seasons with the Dutch giants, leading them to a number of trophies during his time as their talismanic striker.

Van der Kuijlen won three Eredivisie titles with PSV between 1975 and 1978.

He also lifted the KNVB Cup in 1974 and 1976 and the UEFA Cup in 1978.

After leaving PSV in 1981, he spent one season at MVV Maastricht where he would add three more Eredivisie goals to his remarkable tally.

He then had a brief stint at Belgian side Overpelt Fabriek before hanging up his boots.

Van der Kuijlen's international career was nowhere near as historic as it should have been due to a falling out between himself and Johan Cruyff.

Willy van der Kuijlen career stats

Career stats

Eredivisie appearances: 545

Eredivisie goals: 311

International appearances: 22

International goals: 7


  • Eredivisie titles: 1974–75, 1975–76, 1977–78
  • KNVB Cups: 1973–74, 1975–76
  • UEFA Cups: 1977–78

This stemmed from a disagreement between PSV players and those at Ajax and Feyernoord.

As a result, Van der Kuijlen declined to be a part of The Netherlands squad that would go on to finish runners-up the 1974 World Cup.

Following his playing career, Van der Kuijlen has remained heavily involved in the PSV set-up.

He became an attacking coach and assistant manager in the 80s and then later returned to the club to work with the youth team.

Since 2004, Van der Kuijlen had served as a scout for the Dutch giants and has also been chosen to hand each new signing their PSV shirt.

In the same year, a statue of the great striker was erected outside the Philips Stadium.

Following his death, PSV released a statement which read: "PSV are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of #MisterPSV, Willy van der Kuijlen. The club legend died peacefully, aged 74.

"Rest in peace, Willy."

Van der Kuijlen's Eredivisie goalscoring record remains unchallenged as he sits 45 clear of second place Ruud Geels.

No player has come within 100 goals of the record since 1984.

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