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EXCLUSIVE: Giovanni Van Bronckhorst says he was honoured to be linked with managing Rangers and would be interested in the job in future

© Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty ImagesGiovanni van Bronckhorst with Robin van Persie. They both left Feyenoord at the end of the Dutch season
Giovanni van Bronckhorst with Robin van Persie. They both left Feyenoord at the end of the Dutch season

Giovanni van Bronckhorst last night revealed he’d be interested in managing Rangers in the future.

He has just ended a successful four-year spell at Feyenoord, taken the club to the Dutch title in 2017 – their first in 18 years – and also two KNVB Cup successes.

The former Light Blues hero won the treble in 1999 at the end of his first season at Ibrox, and the double in 2000, before moving on to play for Arsenal and Barcelona.

He was strongly linked with the Rangers manager’s post following Mark Warburton’s departure in 2016/17 season, and again after the Pedro Caixinha debacle.

Van Bronckhorst, however, was in the middle of his venture at the Rotterdam club, and the timing just wasn’t right.

But the Dutchman was flattered to be on the radar of his former club, and was delighted to know he is still held in such high esteem by the fans.

Having been given the job at Feyenoord at the tender age of 40, there is no doubting his qualities to lead and manage.

He has chosen to take a short break from the game and will assess all his options in the coming months.

The 44-year-old told The Sunday Post: “Rangers are a special football club, and I always look out for their results.

“For me to have been a part of their history is a wonderful feeling, and very humbling.

“It is clear to see the club is heading in the right direction and significant improvements have been made in the past year.

“For a couple of years, they were struggling to get close to the level of Celtic. But that is now not the case.

“Thanks to a lot of hard work behind the scenes, and the appointment of Steven Gerrard as manager, the club is now heading the right way, and they are now very, very close to being at the same level on the park.

“They now have to take the positives of the two victories against Celtic at Ibrox this season, and bring that mentality and skill over the course of a full campaign.

“Of course, it is an important period coming up, and they look as though they are ready to go and properly challenge.

“This will be a test for Celtic, because Rangers are ready. Celtic will not get it easy next season, we all know that.

“You must give respect to Steven, his coaching staff, the players and supporters for their hard work over the past year. He is doing very well.

“To be the manager of Rangers is a huge honour, of course.

“I’ve been linked with it once or twice, and that was very nice.

“It’s a great football club and has a special feeling in my heart. So it was a huge compliment.

“But I was totally committed and focused on Feyenoord.

“You never know what may happen in the future, and we all know that it is never wise to try to predict where your career may take you.

“You never know what happens because I know the club and have nice feelings for it.

“But it’s important for everyone to support Steven and the players next season. That is the only focus.”

Giovanni van Bronckhorst celebrates after he’d scored during Rangers’ 4-0 win over Celtic in March 2000

After moving to Rangers from Feyenoord for £4.5-million in 1998 as part of Dick Advocaat’s Dutch revolution at Ibrox, the cultured midfielder picked up five domestic medals and was part of some famous nights in the Champions League.

He joined Arsenal three years later for £8m, then it was on to Barcelona, where he played a significant role in the Champions League success of 2006.

He also won 106 caps with Holland, and captained his country in the 2010 World Cup Final, when they lost to Spain in South Africa.

Van Bronckhorst said: “I have been very fortunate to have played under wonderful coaches and leaders.

“There’s been Dick Advocaat, Louis van Gaal, Frank Rijkaard, Ronald Koeman and Arsene Wenger.

“They all had their own ways and different styles, and I’ve tried hard to form my own identity and philosophies as a coach, while never forgetting the positives I took from all of them.

“Being a player is wonderful, but being a manager is totally different.

“You have different kinds of pressures. It never leaves you and it’s almost impossible to switch off.

“But the rewards are great, and helping to bring success to Feyenoord was an incredible feeling.

“I want more in the future.

“It was the same when I played, and I can’t believe it was 20 years ago that we won the treble with Rangers. Where does the time go?

“I’ll never forget Rod Wallace’s winning goal in the Scottish Cup Final against Celtic. What a moment!

“Being in Scotland helped my development as a footballer, and also my mentality and character.

“Playing in Scotland was really tough, I can assure you. But it was perfect for me at that stage.

“The successes we had were down to having a very good manager and talented players. We also had a great team spirit, and that is so important because nothing van be achieved without togetherness.

“We worked hard every day in training but we also socialised as a group.

“We had Arthur Numan, Claudio Reyna, Andrei Kanchelskis, Michael Mols, Barry Ferguson and many more, who were excellent.

“It was then nice to win league titles with Arsenal and Barcelona. To win the title in four different countries – Holland, Scotland, England and Spain – is very special and something I am extremely proud of.

“Of course, the Champions League is the dream for every club footballer, and I’ve had that feeling with Barcelona in 2006.

“We had a great time there, and I know, overall, I’ve been very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had and played for so many wonderful football clubs.”