Edwin van der Sar has explained why he rejected the opportunity to join the Manchester United coaching staff and instead pursue a return to Ajax, a club with whom he claims to share a greater bond.
Van der Sar established himself as arguably the Premier League’s greatest ever goalkeeper during 10 years in England, six of which were spent with Manchester United, and enjoyed an immense amount of success during his time at Old Trafford.
The Dutchman won the league title on four occasions, clinched two League Cups, won the FIFA Club World Cup and featured in three Champions League finals, one of which Manchester United won against Chelsea.
Such was his value to Manchester United and high regard with which he was held by Sir Alex Ferguson, Van der Sar was, when he retired three years ago, offered to stay with the club as part of the manager’s backroom team.
However, Van der Sar was offered another position - that of the marketing director role at Ajax - and he took the decision to move back to the place where it all started for him, along with a collection of other club icons.
“I share a special bond with Ajax. I think we are a special club. And we’re known for our philosophy around the world,” Van der Sar said in an interview with SportsKeeda when asked about why he chose Ajax.
“Now, I have a chance to give it back to the club where it all started."
"All the former players that are working here with me - Frank de Boer as the coach, Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars, Jaap Stam, Ronald de Boer – wanted to contribute at the club that helped us grow as a player.”
It was an interesting decision by Van der Sar, not going back to Ajax, but the willingness to move straight from playing and into an administrative role, which is hardly a well travelled route, and certainly not for such established stars.
But could he come back to Manchester United one day? Perhaps there will be a chance, particularly now Louis van Gaal - his first mentor - is in the hot seat.
That said, marketing is certainly one of the club’s strengths, and it may be that Van der Sar will have to put on the training gear once again if he does return to Manchester.