Football: Van Basten joins Chelsea

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Marco van Basten became Chelsea's latest illustrious squad player yesterday -but only for a couple of hours. The 32-year-old former Dutch international, forced by a persistent ankle injury to quit the game when still in his prime, was the surprise sight that greeted Chelsea supporters at the club's Harlington training ground.

Van Basten, who hit a hat-trick against England when he led the Netherlands to their triumph in the 1988 European Championships, looked as fit as a fiddle as he took a full part in the session.

Ruud Gullit, the Chelsea manager and former team-mate of Van Basten at Milan, said that Van Basten, whose last game was in the 1993 European Cup final against Marseilles, was only popping in to say "hello".

"Marco just came to visit us," Gullit said. "It was good for us to have him, the excitement it generated was OK, and it was nice for him to have contact with football again.

"It's been a long time since he has played, and he was quite satisfied with his performance, but he just came to visit me, to join in."