Reinier Lambertus 'René' van de Kerkhof (September 16, 1951) is THE twin brother of crack Willy van de Kerkhof, right winger as position and with 'the blind' as nickname.
Van de Kerkhof was a fast football player with a great urge to move forward. He and his twin brother Willy were discovered at the Helmond amateur association RKSV Mulo by trainer Kees Rijvers of FC Twente. He had the best years of his career at PSV, where he played a total of thirteen seasons (three of which with the PSV amateurs). His nickname was 'the blind'. He was very fast as a winger, shot the ball forward and ran after it, but regularly lost sight of the fact that he still had a number of fellow players with which you could combine. His older brother Gerard also played professionally.
After Van de Kerkhof had most of his career behind his proverbial back (FC Twente and PSV), he opted for a foreign adventure. First he tried, without success, to succeed with the Greek Apollon Smyrnis. After 23 games (3 goals), he moved to Seiko Hong Kong. This adventure was also short-lived: Van de Kerkhof decided to return to 'the local sport' of Helmond. The last club was Eindhoven, where he played his very last match in 1989.
He made his debut for the Dutch national team on March 28, 1973 in the away game against Austria in preparation for the world championships. He was in the selection for both the 1974 World Cup (Germany) and 1978 (Argentina). He played a total of 47 games for the Dutch national team in which he scored five times.
Van de Kerkhof was a substitute in the final against West Germany in 1974. When studying the footage in 2006, he was named best Dutch player in this lost match.
Just before the kick-off of the final of the World Cup in 1978, Van de Kerkhof was the center of a riot for a while. Because he had broken his hand, he played with a plaster cuff. The Argentinian captain Passarella demanded that the Italian referee Gonella be replaced. Only when national coach Ernst Happel then sent the Dutch players to the dressing room, Gonella decided to allow Van de Kerkhof's 'hard hand'.
In March 2004, he and his brother Willy were selected by Pelé for the FIFA 100 Best Players List.
René van de Kerkhof married Johanna Maria Henrica Arnolda Duijmelinck in 1971 and is the father of Remon (1975) and Rianne (1979). He lives with the ex-wife of his former club mate Harry Lubse. He is a distant relative of Annie van Stiphout.