Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has announced that this will be his last season as a professional football player, after an 18-year career and more than 420 goals throughout different clubs and the Netherlands national team.
Klass-Jan Huntelaar is a born striker, a player who has only one ambition and that is to score goals. The entire career of the Ajax striker was focused on that and, we must admit, he managed to be a successful one. It is difficult to find a goal in his career where he dribbles past several defenders or even pulling off long shots to score. Nah. His virtues were mostly inside the box and in many cases with just one touch. A natural striker that is so rare nowadays.
His career begins with PSV Eindhoven where Huntelaar only played one game, before being loaned out a couple of times. In one of those loan deals, with AGOVV in the Eerste Divisie, he managed to be the top goalscorer in the category, which gave Huntelaar the possibility of signing with Heerenveen, where he would maintain this level of performances. In 2005, Huntelaar arrived at Ajax in Amsterdam, where he became one of the most desired strikers most by the great teams in Europe thanks to an average goal of almost one per game.
At a time when Real Madrid brought in a lot of Dutch talented players such as Robben, Sneijder or Van der Vaart, also Klass-Jan Huntelaar arrived at Los Blancos although only for six months. Florentino Pérez was about to commence his second term as president of Real Madrid and wanted to purchase new players forcing the sale of Huntelaar to AC Milan. In Italy, Klass-Jan Huntelaar would stay for a year, without being very prominent, before reaching one of the two clubs of his life: Schalke 04.
In Germany, Huntelaar recovered his shooting boots, so to speak, and spent 7 years there where he became a fan favorite and found a degree of stability in his career. After the 7 years in Germany, Huntelaar returned to Netherlands, to Ajax more specifically, where he continued to be a very important piece of the Dutch football team.
At 37 years old, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is writing the last chapter of his career as footballer. Definitely a skillful striker in the box, Huntelaar has been lacking the relevant dynamism of modern attackers. In a much more dynamic football, strikers are required more and more often to be versatile adapting to different situations. Luis Suarez, Karim Benzema, for example, other than scoring goals can be deployed few meters outside the box whenever needed.
My feeling is that Huntelaar has never crossed path with a coach who spent time working on him. Imagine if Andrea Pirlo had never met Carlo Mazzone with his crazy idea of converting an average no. 10 into one of the best defensive midfielders ever. Or Helenio Herrera of converting a lousy right winger into one of the greatest left-backs in the history (i.e. Giacinto Facchetti). Vincent Company from midfield to center-back (by Roberto Mancini), Mascherano and Sergio Ramos from other roles to center-back (by Guardiola and Mourinho). Despite that, I salute Huntelaar and wish him all the best after such a productive career. Good hunting, Klaas-Jan.