Ron Vlaar

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Ron Vlaar
Vlaar AV 2014.jpg
Vlaar at Aston Villa in 2014
Personal information
Full name Ron Peter Vlaar[1]
Date of birth (1985-02-16) 16 February 1985 (age 35)
Place of birth Hensbroek, Netherlands
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)[2]
Playing position(s) Centre back
Club information
Current team
Number 4
Youth career
1991–1995 Apollo '68
1995–1996 SVW '27
1996–2004 AZ
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2006 AZ 10 (0)
2006–2012 Feyenoord 132 (8)
2012–2015 Aston Villa 79 (2)
2015– AZ 91 (5)
National team
2004–2005 Netherlands U19 4 (0)
2005–2007 Netherlands U21 15 (0)
2005– Netherlands 32 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13 March 2020

Ron Peter Vlaar (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɔn ˈvlaːr]; born 16 February 1985) is a Dutch footballer who plays as a centre back for AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie, having returned to play at his first professional club.

Vlaar has been a Dutch international since 2005. He represented his country at Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup which he won the bronze medal. Vlaar played 32 times for the Netherlands national team and has played for and captained both Feyenoord and Aston Villa.

Early life[edit]

Vlaar was born in Hensbroek, North Holland. His mother, Margaret, was a handball player, while his father was an amateur football player. Vlaar has two younger sisters, Ellen and Lisan, who are both active in sports as well. Ellen is a gymnast and Lisan plays volleyball.[3]

Club career[edit]


In Hensbroek, Vlaar joined local club Apollo '68 at the age of six. Apollo '68 youth coach Kees Wijte was quickly convinced: "But when he was five, he was already allowed to train with us. You could already see how good he was. He had a powerful kick with both his left and right leg, and a very good one as well. Besides, he had a fantastic mentality. Ron always wanted to win and become better."[4]

When he went to his final year in elementary school, Vlaar left Apollo '68. The youngster wanted to play on a higher level and joined SVW '27 from Heerhugowaard. At his new club, Vlaar's development went well above expectation. After playing for SVW '27 for one season, Vlaar got invited to join the AZ youth academy, a professional side playing in the Eerste Divisie.[3] In 2002, Vlaar signed his first youth contract. The contract intended to keep him in Alkmaar until summer 2007.


In the 2004–05 season, Vlaar made his unexpected Eredivisie debut at the age of 20. Due to suspensions within the first team squad at the end of the season, Vlaar was paired up with the experienced centre back Barry Opdam on 23 April 2005 in the away match against RKC Waalwijk (2–1).[5] Five days later, on 28 April 2005, Vlaar made his European debut. The youngster was part of the starting line-up in the UEFA Cup semi final away match against Sporting Clube de Portugal (2–1).[6] Vlaar played three Eredivisie matches and two UEFA Cup matches in his debut season.

While Vlaar thought the season 2005–06 would be his breakthrough year, AZ coach Louis van Gaal kept choosing for more experienced players. Vlaar was part of the starting line-up thrice, while he came in as a substitute in four matches, having a total of seven Eredivisie appearances in his first half-year. Despite Vlaar's substitute status at AZ, the youngster impressed the Netherlands coach Marco van Basten enough to invite him for his first international matches. As Vlaar was only playing at AZ for a youth contract, various sides were interested to offer Vlaar more playing time. AZ were keen to offer Vlaar a new and improved contract, however Vlaar had no interest in staying at AZ as he felt blackmailed by AZ coach Louis van Gaal: "He told me I would only play at emergencies if I wouldn't sign the new contract".[7] The young centre back was close to a deal with Ajax[8] and was spotted in London, as he was visiting Martin Jol's Tottenham Hotspur with his father and agent.[9] However, on 28 December 2005, Vlaar signed a three-and-a half-year deal with Feyenoord.[9]


Vlaar with Feyenoord.

At Feyenoord, Vlaar quickly became a first team starter. Vlaar made his official Feyenoord debut on 15 January 2006, in the away match against Vitesse Arnhem (0–1).[10] Vlaar played 16 Eredivisie matches after his winter break transfer, without scoring any goals.

Vlaar had a bad start of the season 2006–07, as he got foot injury in the pre-season match against Reading (2–1) in August. At first it seemed to be a minor injury, but Vlaar had to drop out in the 33rd minute of the season opening away match against FC Groningen (3–0).[11] The doctors found a crack in a bone in his foot, causing Vlaar to be out for almost the entire first half of the season .[12] After his recovery, Vlaar regained his place in the first team and played 20 Eredivisie matches in the remaining season. On 16 December 2006, Vlaar scored his first Feyenoord goal in the away match against FC Utrecht (2–1).[13]

With the arrival of the new Feyenoord coach Bert van Marwijk and new centre back partner Kevin Hofland in the 2007–08 season, Vlaar was ready to make the next step in his development. However, on 16 September 2007, Vlaar got injured in the Eredivisie away match against Roda JC (1–3).[14] Vlaar needed a surgery on the cruciate ligament and was out for the rest of the season.[15] After the surgery, Vlaar was confronted with an additional setback, as he had a bacterial infection. Vlaar recovered from his injury at the beginning of the 2008–09 season. However, during pre-season, Vlaar got another injury at a medial collateral ligament of his knee. After being sidelined for over a year, Vlaar returned to the training field. After an innocent coming together with Kevin Hofland, Vlaar damaged his cruciate ligament again. It was the same injury he had in the previous season, causing him to miss a complete season again.[16]

After being sidelined for two seasons, Vlaar made a strong comeback in the 2009–10 season. One highlight was a 60-meter distance goal in the KNVB Cup away match against Harkemase Boys (0–5) on 24 September 2009.[17] Once he returned, he formed a strong partnership with Brazilian centre back André Bahia. Earning praise with his imposing body and impressive displays. By the start of the 2010-11 season, Vlaar was appointed as Feyenoord captain, following Giovanni van Bronckhorst's retirement.[18]

By the start of the 2011–12 season, Vlaar signed a contract with the club, keeping him until 2014.[19] Vlaar was among thirteen players to lose confidence in Mario Been, prompting him to resign as Manager of Feyenoord, leading Ronald Koeman become Been's successor.[20] Later in the 2011-12 season, he played a key role in reaching second place in the Eredivisie with Feyenoord, securing a spot in the third qualifying round of the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League.

Aston Villa[edit]

Vlaar playing for Aston Villa in November 2014

On 15 July 2012, Feyenoord confirmed that Vlaar had travelled to Birmingham to hold talks with Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert with a view to a possible transfer.[21] During Villa's pre-season tour of the United States, however, Vlaar admitted that the deal was off and he would remain with Feyenoord.[22] In another turn of events, it was then announced on 27 July that he would eventually be joining the Premier League side, as he had agreed personal terms and would sign for Villa subject to him passing a medical.[23] On 1 August, Vlaar officially joined Aston Villa, signing a three-year contract.[24] On 15 September, Vlaar was named captain for the 2012–13 season in the continued absence of club captain Stiliyan Petrov, as the Bulgarian battled cancer.[25]

His first game as captain resulted in Aston Villa's first win of the season, a 2–0 win over Swansea City. On 29 April 2013, Vlaar scored his first goal for the club with a 30-yard strike in a 6–1 victory over Sunderland.[26] His second goal for Villa, in the last game of the season, a 2–2 draw away at Wigan Athletic, came from a spectacular half-volley from just inside the penalty area.[27] Following the club's finish just above the relegation zone, in 15th, Vlaar told the club's youngsters that they must learn from their mistakes and hoped this doesn't happen for next season.[28] In his first season at Aston Villa, Vlaar made twenty-seven appearance for the club, having been sidelined due to calf injury.[29]

In the 2013-14 season, Vlaar started the season well when he captained the match, beating Arsenal 3-1 in the opening game of the season.[30] Vlaar continued to be in the first team until he suffered a calf injury, which he suffered during a match against Southampton on 4 December 2013.[31] After missing five matches, Vlaar made his first team return, in a 1-0 win over Sunderland, where he played 70 minutes.[32] After returning to the first team for five match, Vlaar then suffered a hamstring injury, which he suffered during a match against Everton.[33] After being on the sidelined for ten days,[34] Vlaar made his first team return, in a 0-0 draw against Cardiff CIty on 11 February 2014.[35] Later in the 2013-14 season, Vlaar made thirty-two appearance for the club.

In the 2014-15 season, Vlaar started for the first three matches until he suffered a calf strain against Hull City.[36] Throughout the season, Vlaar continued to be in the sidelined, as a result of a calf injury,[37] knee injury,[38] calf muscle strain[39] and a red card.[40] Despite this, Vlaar formed a central defence partnership with Jores Okore, in the 2015 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, where the team were defeated 4–0 by Arsenal on 30 May 2015.[41]

At the end of the 2014–15 football season, Vlaar was offered a new contract by Aston Villa,[42] having been keen to stay at the club.[43] However, he declined the contract offer from the club, leaving him a free agent.[44]

Return to AZ[edit]

On 7 December 2015, Vlaar joined AZ Alkmaar on a deal running until the end of the 2015–16 season.[45][46] He signed a new two-year deal with the club on 9 May 2016.[47]

International career[edit]


Vlaar represented the Netherlands at various youth levels. However, he had most success with the Netherlands U20 on the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship and with Netherlands U21 on the UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship in 2006 and 2007

The 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship took place in the Netherlands between 10 June and 2 July 2005. Vlaar, reserve captain behind Hedwiges Maduro, was an important player in the Dutch team and was active in every match the team played on the tournament. Netherlands U20 had a smooth run through the group stage, winning their three matches respectively easy against Japan U20 (2–1), Australia U20 (3–0) and Benin U20 (1–0). After beating Chile U20 (3–0) in the next round, the Netherlands U20 reached the quarter finals against later finalist Nigeria U20 (1–1 aet 9–10 pso). Despite Vlaar's equalizing goal and successful penalty kick, the Netherlands U20 didn't advance to the next stage.[48]

Netherlands U21[edit]

Vlaar was part of the Netherlands U21 on the 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, where the Dutch side claimed the trophy for the first time in history. Besides the group match against Denmark U21 (1–1), Vlaar played in every match on the tournament. Jong Oranje started and finished their campaign against Ukraine U21, going out on a high with a 3–0 win in the final, after surprisingly losing their opening game to the Ukrainian team.[49]

Twelve months after winning the UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship for the first time, Vlaar was the captain of the team that retained the trophy in style with a 4–1 win against Serbia U21 in the final. Vlaar played in every match in the group stage, but had to leave the pitch injured in the semi final match against England U21 (1–1 aet 13–12 pso). Vlaar had to watch the final from the sideline, but was able to lift the trophy together with reserve captain Hedwiges Maduro.[50]


Vlaar (right) with Denmark's Christian Eriksen at Euro 2012.

In the few matches the promising defender played, he made enough of an impression to be noticed by Marco van Basten, the coach of the Netherlands national team. He was selected for the qualifier against Romania in June 2005, but did not play. The first international match in which he played was a match against the Czech Republic on 8 October 2005.

Since his comeback for Feyenoord, he became a first-choice regular in the Feyenoord team. His appearances for Feyenoord were noticed by the national team coach Bert van Marwijk, who officially stated to be following him in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup. However, not yet calling Vlaar to the national team, due to the severity of his previous injuries, allowing him to gradually come to full fitness and preventing overuse of muscles since Vlaar only came back to first team football in the summer of 2009. However, van Marwijk stated he would seriously consider calling Vlaar up in the second half of the season.

Vlaar was included in the preliminary squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.[51] However, on 27 May 2010, Netherlands manager Bert van Marwijk announced that the player would not be part of the final squad of 23 participating in the competition.[52] On 7 May 2012, he was named in the provisional list of 36 players for the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament by van Marwijk. On 2 June 2012 he scored his first international goal with a header from a corner kick by Ibrahim Afellay, the last goal in a 6–0 friendly win over Northern Ireland.

In the World Cup 2014 Vlaar played all seven matches,[53] in which he received much credit for leading the defence. The Netherlands did not lose any matches in the normal time, with the Vlaar-headed defence conceding just four goals. In the semi-final against Argentina, Vlaar took the first penalty kick, after being one of the best players on the field throughout the official playing time. He however missed, just like Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder, which caused the Dutch to lose and face Brazil in the third-place play-off. After a 3–0 win over Brazil, the Netherlands won the bronze medal; Vlaar's biggest achievement as a player for his national team.

Career statistics[edit]


As of match played 19 January 2018[54][55]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Continental Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
AZ 2004–05 Eredivisie 3 0 0 0 2[a] 0 5 0
2005–06 7 0 0 0 2[a] 1 9 1
Total 10 0 0 0 4 1 14 1
Feyenoord 2005–06 Eredivisie 16 0 0 0 0 0 16 0
2006–07 20 1 0 0 1[a] 0 21 1
2007–08 4 1 0 0 4 1
2008–09 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009–10 32 4 1 1 33 5
2010–11 32 2 0 0 2[b] 0 34 2
2011–12 32 0 0 0 32 0
Total 136 8 1 1 3 0 140 9
Aston Villa 2012–13 Premier League 27 2 1 0 3 0 31 2
2013–14 32 0 0 0 2 0 34 0
2014–15 20 0 3 0 0 0 23 0
Total 79 2 4 0 5 0 0 0 88 2
AZ 2015–16 Eredivisie 17 1 2 0 9[b] 0 28 1
2016–17 24 0 1 0 0 0 25 0
2017–18 6 0 0 0 6 0
Total 47 1 3 0 9 0 59 1
Career total 272 11 8 1 5 0 16 1 301 13
  1. ^ a b c Appearances in the UEFA Cup
  2. ^ a b Appearances in the Europa League


As of match played 12 November 2014[56]
Dutch national team
Year Apps Goals
2005 2 0
2010 2 0
2012 10 1
2013 7 0
2014 11 0
Total 32 1

International goals[edit]



Aston Villa



Personal life[edit]

Vlaar was married to Stephanie in 2010 and has two children. However, in 2011, Vlaar and his wife divorced, just months after his wife gave birth to his second child.[61]


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  58. ^[permanent dead link]
  59. ^
  60. ^ "2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil: Brazil-Netherlands". FIFA. 12 July 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
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External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Stiliyan Petrov
Aston Villa captain
Succeeded by
Fabian Delph