Edwin van der Sar: ‘We reached a level of football nobody really expected’

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The Ajax CEO explains the strategy that kept their thrilling young side together and paved the way for Champions League heroics

Last season, as Ajax’s future balanced on a gossamer thread, the club’s hierarchy called in seven of their most talented youngsters for a special talk and presentation. Off the pace in the Eredivisie, without any European football to spice up the season, Edwin van der Sar and Marc Overmars, the CEO and director of football, hatched a plan to try to keep their finest prospects from seeking greener grass.

André Onana, Matthijs De Ligt, Donny van de Beek, Frenkie de Jong, Justin Kluivert, Kasper Dolberg and David Neres came to the meeting. They were shown a video, made just for them, where they were each compared to an iconic player from the club’s past who played in their position. The message was unequivocal. Van der Sar picks up the story. “We said: ‘If you want to be a legend of Ajax you need to win something big’. In my eyes it was really inspirational.”

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Written by Amy Lawrence
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2019/apr/30/edwin-van-der-sar-ajax-champions-league under the title “Edwin van der Sar: ‘We reached a level of football nobody really expected’”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.