What makes a team better than others? It's the players. Every year the clubs around the world spend large amounts of money to bring some capable players to their teams. In this article, we want to review the Best Ajax Players of all Time.
AFC Ajax is a Dutch club based in Amsterdam which has continuously played in the top-tier Dutch football competition, Eredivisie since the league's establishment in 1956.As the most successful club in the nation, the Sons of the Gods have won 34 Eredivisie titles and 19 KNVB Cups which is more than any other clubs in the Netherlands. The club also gathered some international titles.
Ajax international achievements are:
European Cup / Champions League: 4 times
European Cup Winners' Cup: 1 time
UEFA Cup: 1 time
UEFA Super Cup: 2 times
It's worth mentioning that In 1972, The Lancers completed the continental treble by winning the Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, and the European Cup. Ajax is considered one of the most successful clubs in the 20th century according to the IFFHS.
Ajax developed many great players and there was a time that many young footballers wanted to join Ajax. Here, we want to list some of the Greatest Players in the History of Ajax. Footballers that graced the club with their abilities and were the main reason for Ajax through the years.
So here is the list of Ajax Best Footballers of All Time. Tune in and enjoy.
The former Dutch goalkeeper and current chief executive of Ajax is the first individual on the list. He is one of the most successful footballers with 26 titles most of which he won with Manchester United and Ajax. He also gathered some individual honors such as the Best European Goalkeeper and UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year.
He started his senior career with de Godenzonen after he spent his youth career with Foreholte, and then VV Noordwijk. At Ajax, he had a successful spell with them which lasted about nine seasons.With the Sons of the Gods, he won four Eredivisie titles, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Cup, and so on.
Being tall, large, and Athletic yet have a high reflex, helped him to be one of the best goalkeepers, and generally one of the Best Ajax Players of all Time. In addition, he was intelligent, and calm whose longevity is renowned. It's worth mentioning that he was very useful in stopping penalties as well.
After Ajax, he had spells in Juventus, Fulham, and Man United, and finally, on 28 May 2011 he played his final game against Barcelona at the Champions League finals. He is now 50 years old.
Dennis Bergkamp is the only Dutchman ever to be inducted into the FIFA Hall of Fame. He is generally considered as one of the greatest of his generation and, of course, one of the Best Ajax Players of all Time.His Arsenal teammate Thierry Henry once described him as a "dream for a striker."
He spent most of his professional career with Arsenal. He played there for 11 years and was originally a midfielder, then he moved to the main striker and then to the second striker. He won three Premier Leagues and FA Cups with them.But before that, he was a part of his hometown club Ajax for seven seasons. It's worth mentioning that he also had a two-year spell in Inter Milan before he joined The Gunners.
Wildly known as the "non-flying Dutchman" due to his fear of flying, His skills were interesting to watch and he was very influential in the world of football as well.His versatility was high because he was schooled in Total Football which was brought up by that time's head coach, Johan Cruyff. Besides this, Bergkamp was creative, and intelligent, talented and we can say he managed to place himself among the Ajax Legends of all time.Within 237 appearances with the Sons of the Gods, he helpd them to win one Eredivisie and two KNVB Cups.
Rudolf Jozef Krol is a former footballer who played his career throughout the 60s,70s, and 80s. He also head coached numerous teams, including Egypt, Zamalek, Servette, etc.He played the majority of his career with de Godenzonen. He actually was born in Amsterdam. He performed mainly as a sweeper or left-back but he was versatile enough to play anywhere across the backline. He also could play in the midfield as a defensive midfielder.
Born on 24 March 1949, he got signed to Ajax and began his professional career in 1968 at the age of 19. He didn't become a regular player until the next season. Through the years, he established himself as the Best Ajax Players of all Time with his ability to pass with both feet, tactical intelligence, and temperament. As soon as he won back the ball he was capable of starting a lethal offensive play with his abilities. Within more than 330 appearances for the Sons of the Gods, he won six Eredivisie titles, four KNVB Cups, two European Cups, and more.He left the club and went on to play with teams like Napoli and Cannes but he will be always regarded as one of the Ajax Best Footballers of All Time.
Netherlands current head coach Frank de Boer was also a footballer and in fact, he was a good one. He played 431 games on the Ajax side, winning five Eredivisie titles, two KNVB Cups, three Super Cups, one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Champions League, and one Intercontinental Cup.
As one of the Best Ajax Players of all Time, he was a talented and capable defender with technical ability who was also played an offensive role, creating chances with his long balls and was dangerous himself with his well known bending free-kicks.
Born on 15 May 1970 in Hoorn, Netherlands, he joined the first-team squad in 1988 after playing four years at the club's youth academy. At first, he was positioned as a left-back but after a while, he switched to center-back. He even played as a sweeper throughout his career.
In his 10 year spell with Sons of the Gods, he established himself as a world-class defender and one of the Legendary Ajax Players ever. His versatility, elegance, and intelligence made him one of the best defenders of his generation.Eventually, in 1999, he left The Lancers and joined Barcelona and retired after short periods at Galatasaray, Rangers, Al-Rayyan, and Al-Shamal.
Franklin "Frank" Edmundo Rijkaard had represented different teams in various leagues, including Sporting CP, Milan, and of course, Ajax.Considered as one of the best defensive midfielders in history, he played a key role in Ajax's success, such as one Champions League title and five Eredivisie titles in his more than 300 matches in Ajax's Jersey and, became one of the Greatest Players in the History of Ajax.He had two spells with the Sons of the Gods. One at the start of his professional career and one at the end of it.
Born in Amsterdam, he started his senior career with Ajax at the age of 17, making his debut on 23 August 1980. He went on to play seven-and-a-half seasons with the club and win the club, winning the nation's league and cup three times plus one Cup Winners' Cup in the 1986–87 season.
Unfortunately, things went bad between Rijkaard and the head coach Cruyff and he vowed to never play under him ever again. He went to play a season for Sporting but was loaned to Real Zaragoza and after that signed to Milan.After seven seasons with Rossoneri, he returned to Ajax, played for two seasons, and in his retirement game, he won the Champions League. What a great way to retire!He will be always placed among the Best Ajax Players of all Time.
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Former Dutch footballer Johan Neeskens is considered one of the nation's greatest midfielders of all time as well as one of the Best Ajax Players ever.Although he only stayed with de Godenzonen for four years, he was an important individual on Ajax's side and was the part of the squad that won three European Cups in a row. He also won two Eredivisie and KNVB Cup within his spell.
Born on 15 September 1951 in Heemstede, he made his professional debut with RCH when he was 17 years old, and then he moved to Ajax in 1970.At first, he was placed in the defense, playing as a right-back and he showed an impressive performance in that position. Then after a while, he was positioned more in the midfield to support Johan Cruyff, a footballer who is also s in the list of Best Ajax Players ever.
With his running ability and techniques, he adapted well to his new central midfield role. He formed a partnership with Cruyff helping him to star and score and also, was a solid goalscorer himself. It's worth mentioning that being great at pressuring opponents, his defensive skills were as good as his offensive skills. In 1974 he left the club and joined Barcelona and his former teammates Cruyff and Michels.
In the continuation of the Ajax Best Footballers of All Time list, we have the former Finnish Attacking midfielder Jari Olavi Litmanen. He is viewed as one of Finland's greatest football players of all time and was chosen as the best Finnish player of the last 50 years by the Football Association of Finland.
Litmanen played for numerous clubs such as Barcelona, Liverpool, and Malmö FF but, his prime was in the mid-90s when he was playing for Ajax. He actually had two stints with the Sons of the Gods. One from 1992 to 1999, and one from 2002–2004 although, his first spell was far better than his second.
He started his professional career with a Finnish team Reipas, then he had some spells in HJK and MyPa, and eventually, he got signed to Ajax in 1992. At first, he mostly played for the reserves but after Dennis Bergkamp's injury, he got his way to the first team and began his journey to be among the Best Ajax Players of all Time. In his second season, he became the league's top scorer with 26 goals.Unfortunately, the rest of Litmanen's career wasn't as good as it used to be due to injuries. Nevertheless, he scored 136 goals in his total periods with Ajax.
Former Ajax player Jesaia Swart, generally known as Sjaak Swart, has the record of most appearances for Ajax. He played as a winger and stayed with The Lancers during his whole career. Throughout his spell in Ajax, he made a total of almost 600 appearances more than 450 of which were in Eredivisie. He also scored 217 goals within his playing period.
Born on 3 July 1938 in Muiderberg, Netherlands, he was born in a Jewish family. During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, he and his father hid from the Germans and concealed themselves as non-Jews to avoid danger.Sjaak started his youth career with a team named OVVO, then he moved to a youth club named Amsterdam, and finally, he joined the Ajax youth academy. His first-team debut came on the 1956–57 season. The Dutch footballer proceeds to play five more matches that season.
Sjaak managed to play 17 seasons with the Sons of the Gods, playing an important role in the club's success. He was part of the squad that achieved three consecutive European Cup victories in 1971, 1972, and 1973. He also won Eredivisie seven, and KNVB Cup five times with them. It's worth mentioning that he was nicknamed Mr. Ajax for his large amount of appearances.
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The three-time Ballon d'Or winner Hendrik Johannes Cruijff is the next individual whose name is among the Legendary Ajax Players ever. Cruyff played in different leagues and clubs, but he spent more time in Ajax than any other club he played at. He was voted European Player of the Century in an election held by, won various individual honors, and is considered as one of the greatest footballers in history.
He started playing football with the Ajax youth team when he was 15. His first-team debut for Ajax came on 15 November 1964 in an Eredivisie match against GVAV, where he scored the only goal for Ajax.He went on to play 8 more years in his first stint with the Sons of the Gods, winning eight Eredivisie titles, three European Cups, and one Intercontinental Cup and made himself one of the Best Ajax Players of all Time.
He then left Ajax and joined Barcelona for a world-record transfer fee, went to the USA for a few seasons, went again to Laliga and joined Levante, and returned to Ajax in 1981. His 3-year second stint was not as legendary as his first and things went bad between Ajax and Cruyff when Ajax refused to offer Cruyff a new contract and he joined the clubs' rivals Feyenoord and retired there. But he returned to Ajax as a manager and won two KNVB Cups and a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup1986–87 with them.
His philosophy in playing and managing influence many generations and several teams have used his methods.Cruyff became synonymous with the playing style of "Total Football," a system that players had to understand the whole geometry of the whole pitch and have the ability to play anywhere.He passed away on 24 March 2016 and in 2017, the Amsterdam Arena was renamed to Johan Cruyff Arena.
The last person on the list of Best Ajax Players of all Time is the Dutch striker Marco van Basten. He was also the head coach of Ajax and Netherlands.Viewed as one of the greats in world football, he won three Ballon d'Ors which two of them was consecutive in 1988, 1989. Van Basten was named FIFA World Player of the Year as well.
Although he played more seasons in A.C Milan and became a legend there, we can't deny that he was also an amazing player in Ajax, scoring 128 goals in his 133 match appearances with Sons of the Gods.During his six-year spell in Ajax, he won three Eredivisie and KNVB Cups and achieved one UEFA Cup Winners Cup in the 1986–87 season.
Born on 31 October 1964 in Utrecht, Netherlands, he began playing for a local team, EDO, when he was 6 years old. Then he spent nine years at UVV Utrecht and a year at Elinkwijk.Eventually, he joined The Lancers as a 16-year-old in 1981, playing his debut match on 3 April 1982 against NEC where he scored his goal.Two seasons later, he became a part of the first team and established himself as the club's main attacker.
During his Ajax stint, he won the European Golden Boot and became the Eredivisie's top scorer for four consecutive seasons. As a prolific goalscorer, he scored 300 goals throughout his career.His height, strength, powerful volleys, headers so many other things made him one of the bests, and of course, one of the Ajax Legends of all time. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire at the age of 28 due to injuries.
So that was the list of Best Ajax Players of all Time. Hope you liked it.