Philippe Albert (August 10, 1967) was elected as best Belgian player in 1992 when he was 25 years old. In that year, he played for KV Mechelen and was transfered to Anderlecht. His best game that season was in the game with Mechelen against Anderlecht. Mechelen won with 3-0.
In 1992, Philippe Albert also became important for the national team. Being a defender, he also had offensive qualities. Federal coach Paul Van Himst was impressed: "He's an example for the youth. He was one of the best players in our games against Czechoslovakia, Romania and Wales. He's a real fighter, always demanding the best of himself." Also Michel D'Hooghe, chairman of the Royal Football Organisation, was satisfied: "Albert became one of our most important players. Being elected as best player in the league is just the first of many awards he'll ever win."
"Winning this award is the greatest moment of my carreer", Albert said. Meanwhile, Anderlecht had replaced coach Luka Peruzovic by Johan Boskamp, who was also impressed by Albert.
It took Philippe Albert seven years to reach the top. Transfered from the local amateur club of Bouillon to Sporting Charleroi, he struggled finding his place in the team. But finally he found his way and became famous as a tough player. Ending a game without getting a card was a success. But his opponents all feared him. No one dared facing him in a duel and also his passes were of excellent quality. This gave him the nickname 'The Lumberjack of Bouillon'.
It was Guy Thys who selected Albert for the national team for the first time. KV Mechelen then transfered Albert. In Mechelen, Lei Clijsters perfectionised the defender's style. After hard work, Albert became a world class defender. Actually, he was more than a defender, he was a complete football player. Besides his remarkable defensive qualities, he had developed offensive strenght too. His rushes through the heart of every opposing defense and his hard shot were feared.
Philippe Albert was also very self-confident. It didn't matter whether his opponents were named Papin, Massaro, Kostadinov or Van Basten. On the contrary: the better his opponent, the better his defensive play.
Juventus and Tottenham showed interest, but Albert choose for Anderlecht. He won three Belgian titles with the Mauves: in '93, '94 and '95. In '94 he also won the Belgian Cup against Club Brugge with 2-0.
After a few years, Kevin Keegan brought Albert to Newcaste United. The Premier League was his ultimate playground. He really liked the way of play in England and taht's why he got the nickname 'The Prince'. In 1997 he became vice-champion with the Magpies. Later on, Albert ended his carreer in Fulham and Charleroi.
Philippe Albert played 41 games for Belgium between 1987 and 1997 and scored 5 goals. One goal in eight games, not bad for a defender! Albert joined the national team for the World Cup in Italy, but he became a national hero four years later in the United States. First of all, he brought Belgium to the World Cup by preventing Czechoslovakia from scoring in the decisive game. That way, he ended up with a red card. Because of the red card, he was suspended for the first match on the World Cup against Morocco. But his moment of glory came when he scored against Holland, leading Belgium to victory. He also scored in the next round against Germany. Due to a mistake of the referee, the Belgians got eliminated though, after a 3-2 defeat. Right before the World Cup of 1998, Albert ended his international carreer. Robert Waseige couldn't convince him to make a come back for Euro 2000, two years later...