A veritable goal machine since signing for FC Schalke 04 in 2010, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has been one of the deadliest strikers in world football for over a decade.

bundesliga.com presents ten things you may not have know about the Dutchman with a special eye for goal...

Early steps

Born in 1983, Huntelaar's took his first footballing steps with his local village side in Hummelo, central eastern Netherlands, before being scouted and signed by local powerhouse De Graaafschap in 1994. He has two siblings - Niek and Jelle - but it was Klaas that displayed an early gift for the beautiful game. "He went to the local club at the age of five, and you could immediately see how talented he was," recalled his father Dirk in 2012.

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PSV's loss, Heerenveen's gain

Huntelaar moved to PSV Eindhoven in 2000 and made his senior debut under Guus Hiddink in late 2002. After two spells out on loan, he then signed permanently for SC Heerenveen in 2004 and scored 39 goals in just 60 appearances in an 18-month spell.

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Boyhood dream fulfilled

Such prolific scoring had a host of clubs queueing up for his signature, but Huntelaar chose his boyhood club AFC Ajax. His goals fired Ajax to the 2006 Dutch Cup and earned him the Dutch Talent of the Year award. Playing alongside the likes of Luis Suarez, he scored a staggering 105 goals in 135 games in all competitions.

From Amsterdam, to Madrid, to Milan, to Gelsenkirchen

By early 2009, Huntelaar had become one of the most sought-after players in Europe. He left the Netherlands and signed for Real Madrid CF, but facing stiff competition from the likes of compatriot Ruud van Nistelrooy and Raul, he moved to AC Milan. He also struggled to settle in Italy, where he was often deployed out wide, and in the summer of 2010, he arrived in Gelsenkirchen and Bundesliga with Schalke, just a short drive from his home town of Hummelo.

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Instant hero

Huntelaar found his feet almost immediately at Schalke. His first goal for the club came against bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund and he went on to score in his next four league games. At the end of the 2010/11 campaign, he bagged a brace as Schalke won a fifth DFB Cup against MSV Duisburg.

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Best in Europe?

It is Huntelaar's third season at Schalke - 2011/12 - which stands out most. He scored a staggering 48 goals in 48 games for club and country, including 29 in just 32 Bundesliga matches, making him the first Dutch player to win the Torjägerkanone award for being top scorer.

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Praise from van Gaal

Back in 2009, Louis van Gaal called Huntelaar "the best player in the world in the penalty area, bar none" - high praise indeed from someone who had coached the likes of Patrick Kluivert and Rivaldo. Huntelaar enhanced his standing with van Gaal further at the 2014 FIFA World Cup when his last-minute penalty sent the Netherlands into the quarter-finals.

Universal acclaim

Schalke's UEFA Champions League last-16 first leg with Real Madrid was a sobering affair as Real won 6-1 at the Veltins Arena - but there was a moment to savour for Huntelaar. He scored a sumptuous volley in off the crossbar against his former club, for which he was applauded by supporters of both clubs. He then scored another two at the Santiago Bernabeu at the same stage of the competition a year later.


With Gelsenkirchen so close to his hometown, Huntelaar has lived in the Netherlands since moving to Schalke, and is still on occasion driven to training by his father, just as he was when he was a boy. "Why doesn't he drive himself?" his father was asked in an interview in 2012. "Because I'm the better driver!"

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Not the traditional type

Huntelaar's other half is Maddy Schoolderman, with whom he has been in a relationship since 2000 when they were still in school. They have two children but don't plan on getting married. "I'm not traditional like that," says Huntelaar. "I feel like I'm already married, even without having a wedding."