Leo Beenhakker
Leo Beenhakker 20 02 2008 (1).jpg
Beenhakker in 2008
Personal information
Full name Leo Beenhakker
Date of birth (1942-08-02) 2 August 1942 (age 80)
Place of birth Rotterdam, Netherlands
Teams managed
Years Team
1965–1967 SV Epe
1967–1968 Go Ahead Eagles (assistant)
1968–1972 BV Veendam
1972–1975 Cambuur
1975–1976 Go Ahead Eagles
1976–1978 Feyenoord (youth)
1978–1979 Ajax (youth)
1979–1981 Ajax
1981–1984 Real Zaragoza
1984–1985 Volendam
1985–1986 Netherlands
1986–1989 Real Madrid
1989–1991 Ajax
1990 Netherlands
1992 Real Madrid
1992–1993 Grasshoppers
1993–1994 Saudi Arabia
1994–1995 América
1995 İstanbulspor
1996 Guadalajara
1996–1997 Vitesse
1997–2000 Feyenoord
2000–2003 Ajax (technical director)
2003–2004 Club América
2004–2005 De Graafschap (technical advisor)
2005–2006 Trinidad and Tobago
2006–2009 Poland
2007 Feyenoord (ad interim)
2009–2011 Feyenoord (technical director)
2011 Újpest (technical director)
2013–2015 Trinidad and Tobago (director of football)
2013–2015 Sparta Rotterdam (technical director)
2017–2018 Sparta Rotterdam (technical advisor)

Leo Beenhakker CM (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈleːjoː ˈbeːnɦɑkər]; born 2 August 1942) is a Dutch international football coach. He has had an extensive and successful career both at club and international level. He led both Ajax and Feyenoord to Dutch championships and also had domestic success with Real Madrid. At international level, he led Trinidad and Tobago to the 2006 FIFA World Cup and Poland to UEFA Euro 2008, both firsts for each nation. His role in Spanish football has earned him the nickname Don Leo, largely due to his fondness of cigars and dry humour.

Coaching career

Beenhakker has been the coach of several prestigious clubs including Ajax, Feyenoord, Real Madrid, SC Veendam, Club America and Real Zaragoza. He has also coached the national teams of Saudi Arabia, Poland and the Netherlands. He coached the Trinidad and Tobago national team in the year leading up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Under Beenhakker's guidance, the team secured a 0–0 draw against Sweden in their first match, and gave England cause for concern in the second match.

From 2000 to 2003, Beenhakker was director of technical affairs with Ajax. In that period, he fired head coach Co Adriaanse and replaced him with Ronald Koeman.


On 11 July 2006, Beenhakker was appointed as the manager of the Poland national team. Originally, he was appointed to manage Poland until the end of UEFA Euro 2008, however his contract was extended until November 2009, the end of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. On 17 November 2007, after Poland defeated Belgium 2–0, he managed to qualify Poland for the UEFA European Championship for their first time – even in Poland's "golden years" of the 1970s and '80s, the nation never qualified for the Euro final stages. On 20 February 2008, Beenhakker was decorated with the Order of Polonia Restituta by President of Poland Lech Kaczyński. The Order is conferred for outstanding achievements in the fields of education, science, sport, culture, art, economics, defense of the country, social work, civil service, or for furthering good relations between countries. However, after Poland's failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, Beenhakker was sacked.[1]


While still in charge of Poland, Feyenoord hired Beenhakker on 5 May 2007 as an interim coach to lead the club through the 2006–07 play-offs. After his departure from Poland, he was named the sports director of the club, signing a contract on 9 October 2009 lasting until 30 June 2011.[2]


Following his spell in the Netherlands, Beenhakker agreed on a three-year deal with Hungarian first division side Újpest, and was officially introduced as the new sports director of the purple-whites in a press conference on 29 July 2011.[3] As managing director Csaba Bartha revealed, Beenhakker's main duty was to work with the first team. However, the club also intended to use his diverse and extensive personal relationships to establish a scouting network across Europe, which could be used in both directions.[4] His contract was terminated in October 2011, after Belgian businessman Roderick Duchatelet, son of Roland Duchâtelet, purchased the club.

In December 2013, Beenhakker was appointed technical director at Sparta Rotterdam, a position he held on to until June 2015, before announcing his retirement from football. In November 2017, he joined the Sparta board as a technical advisor, which he did voluntarily until Sparta found a technical director. When in March 2018 Sparta appointed Henk van Stee, Beenhakker left his spot and announced his retirement again.


Beenhakker speaks several languages, including Dutch, English and Spanish. He also learned a few words in Polish during his time as national team manager.

Personal life

As coach of the Trinidad and Tobago squad that competed at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Beenhakker was awarded the Chaconia Medal (Gold Class), the second highest state decoration of Trinidad and Tobago.[5]



Real Madrid

(* Won Copa del Rey and La Liga)




  1. ^ Poland dismiss coach Beenhakker
  2. ^ Feyenoord contrató a Leo Beenhakker como DT
  3. ^ "Leo Benhakker az Újpest új sportigazgatója!" (in Hungarian). Újpest FC official website. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Beenhakker már hivatalosan is az Újpest sportigazgatója" (in Hungarian). Nemzeti Sport Online. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  5. ^ "Birchall and Bell up for award". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 September 2021.