Earmarked for stardom after a successful start to his international career at youth and Under-21 level for the Netherlands, Ron Vlaar missed virtually two whole seasons through injury before re-establishing himself as a central defensive linchpin at Feyenoord and earning a ticket to UEFA EURO 2012.
• Emerged from nowhere in the spring of 2005 to appear in both legs of AZ Alkmaar's UEFA Cup semi-final against Sporting Clube de Portugal and star for the Jong Oranje at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup on home soil a few weeks later.
• Left AZ for Feyenoord midway through the 2005/06 season and immediately became a regular for the Rotterdam club, but a foot injury forced him to miss the first half of the following campaign and cruciate ligament damage sustained in September 2007 kept him out of action for two years.
• Helped the Netherlands to victory in the 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Portugal and skippered the team to a repeat triumph on home soil 12 months later – though he missed the final against Serbia through injury.
• Capped for the first time at senior level in October 2005, in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Czech Republic, he revived his international prospects following a resounding recovery from injury in 2009/10, when he made 32 Eredivisie starts for Feyenoord and scored four goals.
• An ever-present for Feyenoord in the 2011/12 Eredivisie campaign, he was a key figure as the club finished runners-up to AFC Ajax, warranting selection for Bert van Marwijk's UEFA EURO 2012 squad.
UEFA European Under-21 Championship: winner 2006, 2007
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