AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf has been named a Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau, bestowed by the Netherlands for his services to football and charity work.
Alphonsus Staelinga, the Dutch ambassador to Italy, presented Seedorf, who is born in Suriname, with the honor in a ceremony on Thursday that was also attended by Milan president and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi (photo AP).
"If he is the coach of AC Milan, he can bring his brother and cousin immediately, we don't mind a little nepotism,” joked Silvio Berlusconi.
Seedorf is the only player to have won the Champions League with three different clubs—Ajax in 1995, Real Madrid in 1998 and Milan in 2003 and 2007.
In 2005, Seedorf founded the "Champions for Children foundation". He also owns an Italian football club in the serie C.
Asked if he might retire at the end of this season, the 35-year-old Seedorf declined, saying he remains motivated and fit.
Although Seedorf is a hero in Italy he is not very popular in the Netherlands. Although he is regarded as one of the most successful Dutch football players.
The reason why is not very popular is because of his role in a conflict in the Dutch national team during the European football championship in 1996, which eventually led to a dramatic performance in the tournament.
The media saw it as conflict between the black (Surinamese) and the white Dutch players, but it actually was a power struggle over salary within in their club team Ajax.