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Franky Van der Elst

Franky Van der Elst
Van der Elst in 2010
Personal information
Date of birth (1961-04-30) 30 April 1961
Place of birth Ninove, Belgium
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 12 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Roeselare (coach)
Youth career
Blau-Wit Lombeek
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1978–1984 Molenbeek 103 (5)
1984–1999 Brugge 466 (15)
Total 569 (20)
National team
1984–1998 Belgium 86 (1)
Teams managed
1999–2003 Germinal Beerschot
2003–2004 Lokeren
2005–2007 Club Brugge (assistant)
2008 FC Brussels
2009–2011 Lommel United
2011–2012 Sint-Truiden
2014– Roeselare

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Franky Van der Elst (born 30 April 1961) is a Belgian retired footballer who played as a defensive midfielder, and the current manager of K.S.V. Roeselare.

During a 21-year professional career he played mainly with Club Brugge, being regarded as a legend there and briefly coaching the team in the 2000s. Also, he was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers, in March 2004.[1]

Van der Elst won 86 caps for the Belgian national team, representing the country in four World Cups and retiring at nearly 40 years of age.


  • Football career 1
  • Honours 2
  • Club statistics 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Football career

Born in Ninove, Van der Elst started his professional career at R.W.D. Molenbeek, earning his first call-up for Belgium in 1982. Two years later, he moved to Club Brugge K.V. and stayed there until he finished his career in 1999, going on to total over 500 overall appearances with the side (466 in the league alone). During four seasons, he often partnered in midfield his namesake Leo – no relation.

Van der Elst won the Golden Shoe twice in his career, an accomplishment for an eminently defensive-minded player. He also appeared in four FIFA World Cups from 1986 to 1998,[2] only scoring once for his country in nearly 90 matches, in a 2–2 friendly draw against Norway on 25 March 1998.

After his career as a player, Van der Elst was appointed as manager at K.F.C. Germinal Beerschot. After four relatively successful years he was replaced by Marc Brys, and subsequently joined K.S.C. Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen.

In 2005 Van der Elst returned to 'his' Club Brugge, as an assistant, joining former teammates – both in club and country – Jan Ceulemans, Marc Degryse, Dany Verlinden and René Verheyen. He remained with the team when Verheyen and Ceulemans were fired in 2006, but was eventually shown the door the following year, with head coach Emilio Ferrera.

After a very short spell with FC Brussels,[3] Van der Elst moved to K.V.S.K. United Overpelt-Lommel, both clubs in the second level.


Club statistics

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Belgium League Belgian Cup League Cup Europe Total
1978–79 Molenbeek Belgian League 1 0
1979–80 0 0
1980–81 6 0
1981–82 33 1
1982–83 32 1
1983–84 31 3
1984–85 Club Brugge Belgian League 33 1
1985–86 34 2
1986–87 34 0
1987–88 32 0
1988–89 34 1
1989–90 34 1
1990–91 34 3
1991–92 29 3
1992–93 32 1
1993–94 20 0
1994–95 29 0
1995–96 30 0
1996–97 29 2
1997–98 32 0
1998–99 30 1
Total Belgium 569 20
Career total 569 20


  1. ^ Pele's list of the greatest; BBC Sport, 4 March 2004
  2. ^ Franky Van der Elst – FIFA competition record
  3. ^ Franky Van der Elst moet opkrassen bij Brussels (Franky Van der Elst sacked by Brussels); Het Belang van Limburg, 15 May 2008 (Dutch)
  4. ^ "Franky Van der Elst". Footballdatabase. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 

External links

  • Club Brugge archives (Dutch)
  • Franky Van der Elst at
  • Worldfootball profile
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