Favoriete Elftal

22 03 2010

In the 110th year of AFC Ajax,  the Ajax Youtube channel has approached several well known celebraties for their favourite eleven and a manager. The following is my listing:

1. Edwin Van der Sar

3. Christian Chivu

            2. Ruud Krol                                                                  5. Frank De Boer

4. Frank Rijkaard

                6. Wesley Sneijder                                            8. Richard Witschge

10. Jari Litmanen

    7. Denis Bergkamp                                                        11. Brian Laudrup

9. Marco Van Basten

Trainer: Johan Cruijff

From the back: I’ve only ever been thorougly impressed by one Ajax keeper – Van der Sar who now keeps goal for Manchester United has been impressive throughout his career.  The first Ajax keeper I watched was Stanley Menzo and since then, Grim, Lobont and now Steklenberg are all nowhere near Edwin. Krol is a legend to many who’ve seen him play.  He was hard as nails and was an excellent tackler still remembered for the fact that he looked more like a hippie than a footballer.  Chivu impressed me the first time I saw him.  Intelligence and composure were the trademarks of his play.  DeBoer was an excellent player who knew the Ajax way well. He will always be remembered for the raking ball he had for Denis against Argentina in World Cup ’94 for the Oranje.  Not only was Rijkaard an excellent player, he became a wonderful manager for Barca.  As a player he’ll be remembered for his spat with German striker Rudi Voeller at Italia’90 but he’s an excellent organiser and he’ll play the number 4 role to perfection in this lineup. Saint Wesley is probably the best player to come out of Ajax in the last decade. Being perfectly two footed, he had an eye for a pass and was a master at dead ball situations.  At Real, he showed what he can do, so much that the Real fans forgot Beckham in a hurry. Now at Inter, he’s the schemer Inter have been missing for the last decade. Richard Witschge is probably forgotten by most fans and is probably the most under-rated player in my eleven.  He oozed class in the way he played.  Trained by the great oracle himself, he was the first Ajax player Johan signed  when he was appointed at Barca.  Richard struggled there but he did enough to impress Europe. When Zinedine Zidane left  Bordeaux for Juve, Richard was signed to replace the French majestro. The number 10 has always been the focal point of modern football teams and no one personified this position more than the Finn – Jari Litmanen.  Signed as a replacement for the then departing Denis Bergkamp, Jari is still a legend at Ajax. In his role as the shadow striker, he excelled and perhaps more than anyone else led Ajax to Champions League success despite being substituted in the final. Here, I’d also give a mention to Kenneth Perez who was really a victim of the changes at Ajax. He is an Ajacied who deserved better and would have been an excellent number 10.  The forward 3 was not as straightforward as it may seem. For each player there were a host of others who could take their place. 2 legends get their positions by virtue of their ability to fit into the Ajax way: Denis Bergkamp had developed into the class act befitting of an Ajacied which prompted Inter to sign him and Wim Jonk but in the Italian system of catenaccio he suffered. Arsenal brought out the best in him and most of the planet saw the Denis, Ajax had developed. On the opposite wing, ideally I would have plumped for the Dutch master himself – Johan Cruijff but with him being selected as trainer, I had to put someone else there – The Dane Brian Laudrup had followed in the footsteps of his elder brother Michael who had played for Ajax in his retirement year.  Brian suffered at a poor Ajax when he was there but he was always the focal point of its attack whilst there.  An excellent winger who fits perfectly in this 3-4-3 system.  Completing the line up, it had to be the model center forward – that was just what Marco Van Basten was.  Till now he’s the marker to which the position is illustrated.  He was too brittle though to play it.  I would say that the Swede: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Klas Jan Hunterlaar both would fit in perfectly but Van Basten will always be the first to make that number 9 his own.  The trainer – Johan Cruijff could well be on the field too but his tactical acumen and understanding of the Ajax way in bringing it to Barca and creating a legacy pushes him more as a trainer than a player but make no mistake the retired number 14 could play anywhere in this lineup.

If you wonder what the fuss about AFC Ajax was about, you really need to watch this series of videos.

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