Marco van Basten was born on 31 October 1964 in Utrecht.
Ajax gave 16 year old Van Basten his debut 1981–82 season after his 20 year old brother Stanley was rejected April 1981, scoring in the 5–0 victory over NEC. He became a top scorer in the league for four seasons from 1983–84 to 1986–87, scoring 118 goals in 112 matches. In the 1985–86 season, he scored 37 goals in 26 league matches, including six goals against Sparta Rotterdam and five against Heracles Almelo, and won the European Golden Boot. He also scored the winning goal in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final against Lokomotive Leipzig in 1987. In total he scored 148 goals in 133 league matches for Ajax.
In 1987, Silvio Berlusconi signed Van Basten for A.C. Milan, with fellow countrymen Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard joining in 1988. In his first season, Milan won their first Scudetto in eight years, but Van Basten played only 11 matches and was constantly troubled by an ankle injury.
Van Basten won his 1st Ballon d'Or.
Van Basten won his 2nd Ballon d'Or.
Van Basten won his 3rd Ballon d'Or.
Van Basten had been hopeful of playing for his country at the 1994 World Cup as well as for his club in the 1994–95 season after spending the whole 1993–94 season out of action (missing Milan's victory in the European Cup as well as their Serie A title glory), but his club ordered him not to take part in the World Cup amid fear of ruining his rehabilitation. Father Joop (1931-2014) proudly declared before he died that he had no regrets whatsoever of his son's shortened career because "Marco became a top, top player and fulfilled all my hopes and dreams". Joop himself was a semi professional in Holland in the 1950's but attended his son's every game at Ajax and Milan. Marco finally conceded defeat in his battle to recover on 17 August 1995, when he announced his retirement as a player after two whole years on sidelines.Van Basten made a farewell appearance to thank the Milan fans before a home game at the San Siro, with an emotional Milan coach Fabio Capello breaking down in tears.
On 29 July 2004, Van Basten was named the new manager of the Netherlands national team, with Van 't Schip as his assistant. Van Basten’s appointment as manager of the Netherlands sparked a little controversy at the time, since he only just started his managerial career and the media argued that he did not have a lot of experience yet.
Van Basten became manager of Ajax after Euro 2008 but resigned on 6 May 2009 after his team failed to qualify for the Champions League.
On 13 February 2012, it was announced that Van Basten would become the manager of Eredivisie club Heerenveen in the 2012–13 season. Van Basten led Heerenveen to an eighth-place finish in the 2012–13 year campaign. He then lead them to a fifth-place finish the following season, the 2013–14 campaign. He finished his reign with a record of 27 wins, 18 draws and 27 losses in 72 matches.
AZ Alkmaar announced on 18 April 2014 that Van Basten would replace Dick Advocaat at the start of the 2014–15 season.
On 28 August 2014, Van Basten took a leave of absence for the following match against Dordrecht, with multiple Dutch news outlets reporting he was suffering of stress-related heart palpitations, and was replaced by assistant coaches Alex Pastoor and Dennis Haar. Later, on 3 September, AZ confirmed Van Basten was given an extended leave of absence until 14 September.On 16 September 2014, parties agreed Van Basten would relinquish his role as manager in order to sign a new contract as assistant coach until 2016; this was motivated by Van Basten himself, who stated the stress caused by his full-time role as head coach was causing him physical and mental issues. He finished his stint with two wins and three losses in five matches.