2012/13 French Ligue 1
A product of the famous Ajax academy, he claims his rise to the top of the game saved him from a tough life, as he was once branded a 'difficult' character and sent out to play at Haarlem. Making his first-team breakthrough in 2007, he had to wait another two years before he made his competitive debut for Netherlands against Scotland in March 2009, but impressed enough to cement his place in the side.
At the end of the 2009-10 season, Van der Wiel won the Johan Cruyff Award for "Young Player of the Year" and was a major part of Ajax's cup-winning team. He continued his fine performances into the summer and starred for Netherlands at the World Cup, attracting the attention of many suitors in January 2011.
Strengths: He brings speed and determined running down the right flank and has a great cross when he gets into space. Stamina is also one of his key attributes.
Weaknesses: His temperament has been called into question in the past and also his consistency in the tackle at the highest level.
Career High: Starring for Netherlands as they reached the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa.
Career Low: In 2009, he was unable to travel with the Dutch squad to Australia for a friendly game due to a concussion obtained while playing for Ajax, but turned up at a rap concert and was attacked by the media for his actions.
Style: Fast, hard-working, a powerful outlet on the right.
Quotes: "I played three years in Haarlem and those years were crucial for me. I realised there what I was doing with my life. I was wasting my talent. I suddenly had to play in second-hand jerseys, getting changed in crummy dressing rooms… I was a spoilt kid, not really nice and I was told off in a really harsh way." Gregory van der Wiel grew up fast after going out on loan.
Trivia: He bucks the trend of most designer-label obsessed footballers as he likes to buy clothes in bargain shops.
FRENCH LIGUE 1