46-Year-Old Jaap Stam Shows He’s Still The Best Dutch Defender

Jose Mourinho and Reading manager Jaap Stam.

Reuters / Jason Cairnduff

Old Trafford got to rewind history for a bit as the legends who immortalized the 1999 treble got together for a reunion game to commemorate the two decades that had passed since the dramatic night at Camp Nou.

The event was a charity game with all the proceeds going to the Manchester United foundation towards the care of specially-abled children.

The game was a splendid one which ended with the Red Devils on top yet again, bettering the Bayern Munich legends with a 5-0 scoreline. The encounter featured goals from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Dwight Yorke, Louis Saha, Nicky Butt, and David Beckham.

The legends certainly lived up to their name as they put forth a classic Sir Alex Ferguson era performance. With disciplined formation, alert wingers, Scholes in midfield, and selfless forwards, Old Trafford witnessed glory yet again, a feat that they have been lacking over the years.


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The side’s defensive duo of Jaap Stam and Ronny Johnsen put up spirited displays. Stam, in particular, didn’t seem to take the game lightly and was fiercely competitive. One widely circulated clip has him taking on the Bayern players while in possession, a feat of defending that United fans have not seen in ages.




After the game, Solskjaer jokingly stated: “Jaap and Ronnie. We could do with them two at the back!”

Much to the dismay of the United supporters, their Norwegian gaffer isn’t far off from the truth. The club’s defensive performances were at their absolute worst the past season and the fact that players well over 40 were able to better the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling in their tribute display is a matter to reckon over.

Further, many supporters also quipped as to how Jaap Stam was the finest Dutch defender in the history of the game. This was a clear nod to Matthijs de Ligt, who despite being great for his age, still has a lot to learn in order to play at the level of Stam.