Although many people in Britain will remember Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink for his exploits at Chelsea, his initial success at Leeds United was equally as impressive.
After firing in 20 goals in just 29 games for Primeira Liga side Boavista during the 1996-97 campaign, then Whites-boss George Graham decided to bring him to Elland Road. Despite scoring on his Premier League debut for his new side against Arsenal, Hasselbaink initially struggled to adapt to his new surroundings and only managed a handful of goals in his first few months at the club.
However, after the turn of the year, the Dutch forward began to really hit form as he found the back of the net on 14 occasions and helped his side qualify for the UEFA Cup. The following campaign saw him excel once again for Leeds with one performance, in particular, leaving a lasting memory for the club’s supporters.
Having experienced an awful start to the year in which the club won just three of their opening 12 top-flight fixtures, new boss David O’Leary took his side to Anfield to face Liverpool. With the scores level at 1-1, Hasselbaink stepped up to the plate for Leeds by scoring a quick-fire brace to secure a much-needed victory for the Yorkshire-based outfit. From that match forward, the Whites went from strength-to-strength in the Premier League and ended up securing a top-four finish which saw guarantee European football for the 1999-2000 season.
Hasselbaink’s 20 goals in all competitions attracted attention from Atletico Madrid who lured the Netherlands international to Spain where despite continuing his fine run of form in-front of goal, he was unable to prevent Los Rojiblancos from being relegated to the Segunda Division. As a result of this disappointment, the striker decided to move back to England and joined Chelsea where he enjoyed four successful seasons before moving on to Middlesbrough and Charlton Athletic.
Having retired in 2008 with a total of 251 career goals, it could be argued that by making the move to Leeds in 1997, Hasselbaink enabled himself to perform at a much higher level than what many thought he was capable of.
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