Can current Rangers star be compared with ex-Ibrox legend?

Can current Rangers star be compared with ex-Ibrox legend?
 Article by: Richard, for Ibrox Noise

Robert Miller, a regular on the site, got us thinking about comparisons between current playmaker Niko Kranjčar and past legend Ronald de Boer.

His question raised definite parallels between the two – both beset by injuries and fitness issues, and both brilliantly creative and ‘quarterbacks’ for their Rangers teams.

Looking at Niko first, he is a 32-year-old, 6’ 1” Croatian (former?) internationalist who has gained at present a total of 81 caps playing for his country.

He is obviously currently still playing for Rangers in the Europa League and the SPL, and plays as an attacking central midfielder, but can also operate as a winger or as a second striker, playing in behind the hole.

On 23 Jun ‘16, Kranjčar signed for Rangers on a two-year deal, stating that it was a “big honour and privilege” and a “big responsibility” to be joining a giant club. He was out for a long time injured when he joined Rangers, but he played some games and did show enough of his undoubted talent.

He kept telling the fans that once he was fully match-fit you would see a different quality of player. He was right, he got a lot fitter and started to show his genius in starring in the SPL games. Everything was going fantastic with him when disaster struck in a training ground accident.

Niko suffered a cruciate ligament injury in early October which would sideline him for the rest of the season. In Jan ‘17, Kranjčar spoke about the progress of his rehabilitation and estimated a return in six-months; although he did acknowledge the severity of the injury could have led to him retiring.

Kranjčar made his return to competitive first-team action after eight months out, the match against Progrès Niederkorn was only his 10th game for Rangers in the Europa Cup on 29 Jun ’17. It was a stunning return, with a man of the match display in his 69 minute-appearance, during the sellout Ibrox match. It was also his brilliance that set up the goal for Kenny Miller to score the winning goal.

Personally, I couldn’t believe how well Niko played in his first game back. It was the only uplifting part of yet another lacklustre and plodding Rangers performance with Ped the Ted in charge of a wrongly-picked team.

Going back into the past, though and Ronald de Boer is a former Dutch and Rangers midfielder who played for the Netherlands national team as well as a host of huge clubs in Europe, and is the older twin brother of fellow ex-Ranger and current Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer.

He had the vast majority of his career success with Ajax and currently works as Ajax A1 assistant manager.

In season 2000–01, Ronald joined Rangers because of manager Dick Advocaat. Other Dutch internationals who played for Rangers at that time were Arthur Numan, Fernando Ricksen, Bert Konterman and Giovanni van Bronckhorst. He played in 26 games in his first season and scored 7 goals, operating mostly as second striker but also quite adept in the hole, just like current playmaker Niko.

2001–02 saw him play in 39 matches and he scored 10 goals, but in 2002 -03 he featured in 43 games and scored a very credible 20 goals that season.

In his last season at Ibrox in 2002-04, he played in 21 matches and scored only 3 goals.

If Rangers can get half of de Boer’s ability from Kranjčar, it will have been a worthwhile piece of business. Just need to keep him fit!

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  1. Much as I like Niko and your writers here I cannot agree that he is anywhere near the class of Ronald de Boer, even when Niko was at his best.
    In the modern game, post Greig era, I have to put de Boer in the same class as Laudrup, Gascogne and Numan as World Class players having played at the pinnacle of football, both de Boer twins reached those heights, with maybe Kranjcar a notch lower.
    Before you criticise my opinion on this matter, I must make two points; firstly, I have ranted for years that if possible Rangers should have tried to sign Modric and Niko for years, I loved both and when we signed Niko I was overjoyed and still am and I hope very much he has a huge impact on us achieving success this season as he was so unfortunate last. My second point is, like the article, it is purely my own personal opinion and it is not a criticism of the article.
    As a fellow Rangers man, I respect his opinion, we differ only slightly, but this might be a time to raise the topic, ad I am sure he is currently not listed. Should Ronald de Boer be added to the Rangers Hall of Fame, along with Scot Symon soon?

  2. AGAIN?!?!?!?

    We can't even compare Niko and De Boer without this site fitting in a pessimistic dig!

    Ask yourself the question, was the following line really need in this discussion:
    "It was the only uplifting part of yet another lacklustre and plodding Rangers performance with Ped the Ted in charge of a wrongly-picked team."

    This is the time of negativity that we are all getting a little bit sick of!

    But back to the point. I agree with Alan McD, also i don;t think Niko has done anywhere near enough in a Rangers shirt (through no fault of his own). Hopefully if he can play like Pirlo did for a little bit longer, then maybe the gap between Niko and De Boer will be closer

  3. Robert Miller, who is a very regular commenter on our site, requested a comparison done between current playmaker Niko Kranjčar and past legend Ronald de Boer.

    I personally thought, why not? Let's face it, football is all about opinions.

    Ed and I, both thought that Ronald De Boer was a no-brainer as he did so well for us over a-4-year-period and Niko has been dogged by injuries, but, why not keep Robert happy with trying out the comparison he requested.

    We read all the comments and we really appreciate our regular contributors input.

    If we can accommodate a commenters idea, why not?

    Robert Miller used to get very annoyed with Ibrox Noise for criticising Mark Warburton at the start of our articles against him, but he did eventually come to realise we were only talking the truth.

    Eventually he did admit we called it right about Mark Warburton – thanks for that Robert.

  4. Just want to put this out there fellow bears!I think both niko kranjcar and ronald de boer are terrific footballers with tremendous creative ability!Although i rate niko very highly i would also state that i rate ronald de boer even higher!!Ronald de boer was one of my favourite rangers players of all time!He was one of the most skillful i've ever seen,although paul(geordie genius) gascoigne imo was the greatest midfielder ever to have played for glasgow rangers,with brian laudrup,ronald de boer,ian durrant and the late great davie cooper not far behind!!

  5. The most underestimated midfield star ever for Rangers was Trevor Steven who was a current England player when he arrived at Ibrox in 1989. He was a fantastic right-sided midfield player, and we also had his English right back, Gary Stevens playing behind him. Boy were they great together.

    After starring in 55 games for Rangers, Marseille paid us £5.5m for his services in 1991. The deal was £3.3m down + £2.2m in January 1992, when the French club ran out of money, and after playing in 28 games and winning the French title with them, Rangers took him back and Uefa had no choice but to agree the deal with us.

    Trevor played another 77 games for us during Steven's second period at Ibrox. It unfortunately, was undermined by a succession of minor injuries before he retired at the top with the 'Gers, where he loved playing his football.

    I loved watching him play as he read the game tremendously well and his first touch was superb. He was also such an accurate passer and crosser of the ball. Thanks for the wonderful memories, Trevor!

  6. He's played 80 games in 5 years – and assuming half of those would be as sub (or being subbed off), then you're looking at 40 full games in that time!

    Signing an injury prone player and then being saddened and surprised that he's injured is crazy. That's the only reason he would come to Scottish football, or other clubs might have looked at him. He'll likely play 10 games again this season, drain cash from the club and then move on at 33/34 having done nothing.

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