Ajax Academy is one of the most famous in the world of football. With a focus on developing young talent and engaging local players, they have consistently produced some of the best players ever.
Needless to say, the fortunes of the Dutch league are insignificant compared to the fortunes of the top five leagues. Therefore, Ajax is highly dependent on the sales of the Academy’s stars in the future.
This becomes clear year after year, with Lisandro Martinez and Ryan Gravenburch the last to leave. Before them came Matisse de Ligt, Hakim Ziyech, and Donny van de Beek.
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With a host of talent coming in every year, it’s no surprise that Ajax is the envy of Europe for its great scouts. In this regard, football 10 of the best players of all time are vying to graduate from the Holy Academy.
Marco van Basten
One of the greatest strikers of all time who made a lasting mark at Euro 1988. Van Basten made his debut in 1981 and spent six seasons winning three league titles.
He was the cheat code in front of goal and remains the third highest scorer with 152 goals in 172 matches.
It’s 𝙎 𝙈 a day… 🍷
– Ajax Amsterdam (AFCAjax) October 31, 2019
However, Van Basten had taken his game to another level at Milan, winning three European Cups and four Scudetto Cups. Unfortunately, the three-time Ballon d’Or winner had to retire at the age of 28 due to frequent injuries.
The left winger who was one of the members of the “total football” adopted by Ajax in the 1960s and 1970s. Kaiser was a one-club player who played for 13 years for the Dutch giants.
He held 19 titles during this period, and was considered equal or even greater than Johan Cruyff. Keizer was an unstoppable force under the leadership of Rinus Michels and Stefan Kovacs. Even Cruyff admitted in his autobiography that Kaiser was the perfect star in his position.
Ajax’s leader in all matches, where he played 603 matches. Swart began his career in 1956 and went on to lose three times in the UEFA Champions League.
Another wing, like Keizer, Swart was part of the previous generation’s golden generation. Ajax has been heavily invested in the scouting division that has brought them these gems from rival clubs or lower leagues.
The only player to win the Champions League with three different teams. Seedorf was a midfielder who was able to open defenses with superb passes. Furthermore, his physical prowess made him not think of affecting the game.
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He made his debut in 1992 and his last match for Ajax was the 1995 Champions League final. Seedorf remains one of Ajax’s most respected alumni.
The aforementioned 1995 Final Winner Kluivert was an instant legend. Kluivert scored 52 goals in 100 matches for Ajax with his skillful nature and quick movement.
Big things were waiting for him and he left for Milan in 1997. However, Kluivert was heading to Barcelona after only one season. Furthermore, Kluivert was also unstoppable at the international level, scoring 40 goals, a record at the time.
Edwin van der Sar
The greatest Dutch goalkeeper, Van der Sar, was a giant in the 1995 final. He won four Eredivisie titles before leaving for Juventus. Van der Sar was eventually signed by Manchester United in the 2000s and won four Premier League titles.
– Edwin van der Sar (@vdsar1970) May 24, 2020
His save from Nicolas Anelka in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final, the Red Devils secured their third victory. Furthermore, Van der Sar also remains one of the oldest players to have played in the Premier League.
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A newly minted Manchester United signing started his career in Denmark before being violated by Ajax at the age of 16. The case of Eriksen was another example of Ajax’s stubborn exploration that paid off well.
He won three consecutive league titles in his five-year stay in early 2010. Eriksen joined Tottenham as he became an even bigger star, before winning the 2020 Serie A title with Inter.
He returned to football with Brentford in January 2022 and is now beginning the next chapter of his illustrious career.
Schneider, the player most involved with the Dutch national team, has been a charming footballer from day one. He can unlock teams with his extraordinary vision and talent in the gaming industry.
Schneider made his debut in 2002, spending five years with Ajax. Furthermore, he was awarded the Dutch Footballer of the Year in 2004.
Sneijder left for Real Madrid, before enjoying another great spell with Inter when he won the treble in 2010.
The hard-nosed quarterback who was the rock of the team in the early ’80s. Rijkaard cut his teeth with Ajax, and spent seven years on his first spell.
He won three Eredivisie titles and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1987 before leaving for Milan. In Italy, Rijkaard became a better player under Arrigo Sacchi.
Rijkaard returned to Ajax in 1993 and was one of the most experienced players, winning the Champions League in 1995.
The greatest Dutch player and Ajax player ever. Cruyff was a true master of the game, and his principles reached all corners of the world. A pioneer of “total football,” the engine room was behind the club’s and nation’s rise as a powerful force in the 1960s and 1970s.
On this day in 1970, Johan Cruyff wore the iconic number 14 for the first time. A number that will forever remain one of the most famous numbers in the history of football. 🙏❤️ pic.twitter.com/YOeqvUPsod
– 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (TheEuropeanLad) October 30, 2020
Cruyff returned to Ajax in 1981 for two years, having cemented his legendary status with Barcelona in the meantime.
He won eight Eredivisie titles and three European Cups during his career. Furthermore, he also remains Ajax’s top scorer with 194 goals in 287 matches.