The concrete wall has fallen over. A little sixteen years after his professional debut, AZ defender and ex-international Ron Vlaar (32 caps, 1 goal) immediately put a point behind his career. The 35-year-old central defender has been pursued non-stop by injuries at his club for two seasons. Vlaar played his last game on 15 September 2020, the lost European qualifying duel with Dinamo Kiev.
Vlaar, hailing from Hensbroek, played his first professional match at RKC in the AZ of Co Adriaanse on 23 April 2005. In the same year, the left-legged centre defender made his debut under national coach Marco van Basten against the Czech Republic in the Dutch team. In Prague, Oranje won the qualifying competition for the 2006 World Cup with 2-0.
Vlaar would not be taken to Germany by Van Basten, after a shaky performance against the Italian assassin Luca Toni, but won twice in a row European Champion with the Young Orange from Foppe de Haan.
Vlaar finally came out for Oranje 32 times and played two final rounds. The 2012 European Championship was a deception, but the 2014 World Cup is the highlight of his career. Vlaar was one of the pillars of Louis van Gaals team, which seized the bronze in South America.
AZ, Feyenoord and Villa De
Noord-Hollander served only three clubs: AZ, Feyenoord and Aston Villa. His first stay at AZ was short-lived. After a dispute with Adriaanses successor, Louis van Gaal, Vlaar AZ left after 14 matches in January 2006. He started working at Feyenoord, where in six and a half years he grew into a crowd favourite.
In the summer of 2012, the captain switched to Aston Villa for a limited transfer fee of 4 million euros. For that club he won three years, he also wore the captain band and played the lost FA Cup Final against Arsenal on 30 May 2015 at Wembley.
Although Villa offered him a new contract, Vlaar moved transfer-free from Birmingham to Alkmaar, to return to childhood love AZ. Previously, Feyenoord had rejected a request from Vlaar to be allowed to train with the Rotterdam selection. With Vlaar in the team, John van den Broms AZ settled firmly in the subtop, under his successor Arne Slot, Vlaar was even close to his first national title as a professional footballer last season.
Although the defender played 136 games for AZ in his second period, in which he was of great value for the team, he was plagued by injuries. Those injuries would run like a thread through his football track. The most affected was Vlaar as Feyenoorder, in which he had to undergo a cruciate ligament surgery twice. Those knee injuries kept him aside for two years.