Giovanni van Bronckhorst has agreed to become the 17th permanent manager of Rangers Football Club.
The 46 year-old former Light Blues player is a hugely respected and vastly experienced figure in the game, and joins Gers subject to receipt of a work permit.
van Bronckhorst is a phenomenally decorated player both at club level and on the international stage for The Netherlands, while as a manager, he returned glory to Rotterdam’s Feyenoord in the Eredivise and in cup competitions – winning five trophies during his successful time at De Kuip.
Born in 1975, van Bronckhorst came through the Feyenoord academy system, winning the Dutch Cup in 1995. With his reputation growing across Europe, Ibrox came calling for the first time as Gio joined Rangers as part of Dick Advocaat’s Dutch revolution.
His playing time in Glasgow was laden with success and five Rangers trophies as he won two league titles, two Scottish Cups and a League Cup while making 118 appearances and scoring 22 goals in the process.
His form and his regular participation in a fine Holland side was always going to attract significant attention, and he joined Arsenal in the summer of 2001, spending two years at Highbury under Arsene Wenger where he won the Premier League and the FA Cup during a successful time in North London before moving to Spain to join Barcelona in 2003.
He was a key part of the Barcelona side which would go on to enjoy incredible success, initially under his countryman Frank Rijkaard, and van Bronckhorst’s spell at Camp Nou saw him collect winners’ medals in the Champions League in 2006, and twice in La Liga in 2005 and then 2006.
The lure of a return to Rotterdam and Feyenoord would prove to be too hard for him to turn down, however, and he returned there to finish off his club career in three seasons from 2007 to 2010.
The final match of his career came with the national team, with that being on the biggest stage of all at the FIFA World Cup final in 2010. After netting a memorable goal in the semi-final to help the Dutch past Uruguay, van Bronckhorst captained his side against Spain, where they were eventually defeated late in extra-time. In all, he claimed 106 caps for The Netherlands placing him fifth in the list of their most-capped players.
After retirement, he began his coaching career at Feyenoord, initially under Ronald Koeman and then Fred Rutten, before earning the chance to become manager of the Rotterdam club for the 2015-16 season.
He won the Dutch Cup in his first full season, and then won Feyenoord’s first league title in 18 years in 2017 along with a Johan Cruyff Shield, and added another Dutch Cup and Johan Cruyff Shield in 2018 before leaving at the end of the 2018/19 campaign.
Following Feyenoord, he had a spell gaining further experience within the City Football Group, owners of Manchester City among other clubs, and most recently he managed Guangzhou R&F in the Chinese Super League.
That time was disrupted enormously with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and after returning to his native Netherlands to spend time with his family, he is ready for his next challenge in the game.
Rangers Chairman, Douglas Park, commented: “I am delighted to welcome Giovanni as our manager to begin a new era and build further on what has already been achieved at the club.
“The team is in a good position on the park and, as a board, we will support both Giovanni and Ross Wilson to continue to make Rangers a success.
On his appointment, van Bronckhorst continued: “I am absolutely delighted to be returning to Rangers as the club’s new manager.
“I feel so lucky to be going to work with a squad which is in a great position on all fronts and largely has that experience of being winners.
“I look forward to carrying on and enhancing the work that has been done already alongside Ross Wilson and the board of the club, and I’m grateful for the chance to work again at this huge football club.
Sporting Director, Ross Wilson, added: “I am delighted to welcome Gio back to Rangers. He was respected throughout Europe as a player and has already shown why he has that same respect as a coach.
“Gio has already shown himself to be a winner, he knows the club, he knows the quality of the squad and is absolutely aligned with our approach and mindset.
“Gio has been part of a long list of managers we have been tracking for a period of time to ensure we are always ready. When Steven intimated his decision last Wednesday, we immediately got to work on what was then a focused shortlist. We held initial talks within 48 hours and concluded our decision making within six days of the role becoming available.
“We found agreement with Gio extremely quickly and we have enjoyed working with him on assembling the backroom team that will complement an already excellent support staff that we have built here at Rangers.”