Luc Gilbert Cyrille Nilis (born 25 May 1967) is a Belgian former professional footballer who played as a striker. He enjoyed a successful career in his native Belgium and, in particular, in the Netherlands with PSV. His playing days came to an end in the 2000–01 season after breaking his leg in a match with his club Aston Villa following a clash with Ipswich Town goalkeeper Richard Wright.
|Full name||Luc Gilbert Cyrille Nilis|
|Date of birth||25 May 1967|
|Place of birth||Hasselt, Belgium|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|PSV (striker coach)|
|2005–2006||K. Heusden-Zolder S.K. (technical director)|
|2015–||PSV (striker coach)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Having left Anderlecht for Eindhoven in 1994, Nilis topped the Dutch scoring charts in the 1995–96 season, plundering 21 goals. He continued that form into 1996–97 – leading the pack by December 1996 with 13 – before matching his previous total, in a season that ended with PSV winning the league title for the first time in five years. In late 1997, Nilis scored thrice in three games over a fifteen-day period, all against Shay Given; with a goal at Newcastle United in the 1997–98 UEFA Champions League group stage coming in between goals for Belgium against the Republic of Ireland. During his time with PSV, Nilis formed one of the deadliest partnerships in Europe with team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooy, who signed for PSV in 1998. In the 1998–99 season, Nilis and van Nistelrooy scored 55 league goals between them. Van Nistelrooy finished as top-scorer, Nilis came second. In the following season, Nilis' last for PSV, they scored 48 league goals between them.
After six years in the Netherlands, Nillis joined Aston Villa on a Bosman transfer in June 2000. Nilis' Villa career started well, as he scored on his debut in the UEFA Intertoto Cup against Dukla Příbram on 22 July 2000 before going on to score on his league debut against Chelsea on 27 August 2000. In a league match against Ipswich Town on 9 September 2000, Nilis was involved in a clash with goalkeeper Richard Wright that left him with a double compound fracture of his right shin. At one point the injury became infected and Nilis even feared a possible amputation. This hypothesis was later ruled out, although his playing career was effectively ended.
Ronaldo occasionally names Nilis as one of the best strike partners he had played with despite sharing only a brief time with him at PSV. Ruud van Nistelrooy has also stated on several occasions that the Belgian was one of the best players, if not the best, he had ever played with.
Nilis played in the FIFA World Cups in 1994 and 1998. Qualification for the latter was sealed with Nilis' goals in each leg of Belgium's playoff against the Irish Republic. Nilis dropped out of international football after the 1998 Finals, reportedly in response to an "unhealthy atmosphere within the squad and their lack of achievement". However, with control of the Belgian national side having changed, Nilis returned to the international fold in November 1999, in time for Euro 2000, co-hosted by his birth-country Belgium and the Netherlands.
After his playing career Beringen-Heusden-Zolder were his next port of call, becoming technical director in 2005, not long before the club's liquidation after financial difficulties. Nilis took a job with PSV, first as a scout and then training the club's forwards. In January 2011, Nilis became assistant manager with Turkish club Kasımpaşa S.K., followed by another assistant manager stint with Gençlerbirliği S.K., also in Turkey. In April 2015 he was re-hired by PSV as a striker coach.
Nilis's father, Roger (1938–2011), played as a professional footballer in Belgium in the 1960s.
- Scores and results list Belgium's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Nilis goal.
|1.||4 June 1994||Heysel Stadium, Brussels, Belgium||Zambia||Friendly|
|2.||8 August 1994||Heysel Stadium, Brussels, Belgium||Hungary||Friendly|
|3.||7 October 1995||Hrazdan Stadium, Yerevan, Armenia||Armenia||UEFA Euro 1996 qualifying|
|5.||9 October 1996||Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino||San Marino||FIFA World Cup 1998 qualifying|
|7.||29 October 1997||Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Republic of Ireland||Republic of Ireland||FIFA World Cup 1998 qualifying|
|8.||15 November 1997||King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium||Republic of Ireland|
|9.||22 April 1998||King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium||Romania||Friendly|
|10.||25 June 1998||Parc des Princes, Paris, France||South Korea||FIFA World Cup 1998|
- Belgian First Division: 1986–87, 1990–91, 1992–93, 1993–94
- Belgian Cup: 1988–89, 1989–90, 1993–94
- Belgian Supercup: 1987, 1993
- European Cup Winners' Cup: 1989-90 (runners-up) 
- Bruges Matins: 1988
- Eredivisie: 1996–97, 1999–2000
- KNVB Cup: 1995–96 (winners), 1997-98 (runners-up)
- Johan Cruijff Shield: 1996, 1997, 1998
- "Luc Nilis". PSV Eindhoven. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
- "Topscorers". EredivisieStats.nl. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- "Hierro grabs crucial goal as Real Madrid stay on top". The Nation. Bangkok. Reuters. 2 December 1996. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- Beresford, Jack (9 September 2016). "Luc Nilis: The PSV Eindhoven hitman who ran out of luck at Aston Villa". loaded.co.uk. Loaded. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- Coughlan, David (13 June 2016). "Belgium legend Luc Nilis opens up about the 1998 World Cup playoff against Ireland & our chances at Euro 2016". buzz.ie.
- Lansley, Pete (9 June 2000). "Nilis turns blind eye to Villa". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Merson off in Villa win". BBC. 22 July 2000. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
- "James gives Chelsea helping hand". BBC. 27 August 2000. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
- "Nilis injury mars Villa win at Ipswich". BBC Sport. 9 September 2000. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Peter O'Rourke. "Nilis making good progress". Sky Sports. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Nilis feared amputation". BBC Sport. 11 November 2000. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Luc Nilis". BBC Sport. 14 May 2000. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- "Luc Nilis joins PSV's backroom team". PSV.nl. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Chris Mayer (4 July 2011). "Belgian Legends – Luc Nilis". The Belgian Waffle. Archived from the original on 1 January 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Football-The Story | Luc Nilis".
- "European Competitions 1989-90".
- "Winnaars Brugse Metten".
- "Netherlands Cup Finals".
- "Luc Nilis vertelt zijn waarheid, maar houdt de regie".
- "Palmares Profvoetballer van het Jaar".
- "Eredivisie 1995-1996".
- "Eredivisie 1996-1997".
- "Geëmotioneerde Nilis krijgt alsnog unieke hulde". Gazet van Antwerpen (in Dutch). Retrieved 8 November 2020.