Long before money dominated football, Ajax were considered to have the greatest academy in the game.
Johan Cruyff, Frank Rijkaard, Dennis Bergkamp, Frank and Ronald de Boer, Clarence Seedorf - the list is endless of the players that have progressed through their academy.
Since then, there have been plenty of talented young players turning out for the Dutch side. The only difference is that these days, Ajax are only able to keep hold of them for a couple of seasons before they are snapped up by a big European club.
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Gone are the days that Ajax are regarded as one of the best clubs in Europe and they are now, unfortunately, considered a selling club.
Therefore, we have taken a look at their XI if they hadn’t sold any players since 2005.
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Of course, we’re well aware that there was no chance of Ajax realistically keeping hold of all these players but we thought it would just be interesting to see the quality that they’ve had in their side in recent years.
Goalkeeper | Maarten Stekelenburg
Ok, it’s not the most impressive start but Stekelenburg amassed 282 appearances for Ajax during nine seasons. Since leaving in 2011, he’s represented Roma, Fulham, Monaco (loan), Southampton (loan) and now finds himself at Everton.
Right-back | Gregory van der Wiel
The Dutchman enjoyed seven campaigns at Ajax before making a €6 million move to Paris Saint-Germain. It’s proved to be a decent signing for the French side as he’s helped them win four Ligue 1 titles since.
Centre-back | Jan Vertonghen
A hero at Ajax and now a hero at Tottenham. The Belgian has been in the Premier League for five seasons now and has established himself as one of the best defenders in England.
Centre-back | Toby Alderweireld
See above. Alderweireld has established a solid partnership with Vertonghen at White Hart Lane. He arrived in north London via Atletico Madrid and a loan spell at Southampton.
Left-back | Daley Blind
Blind helped Ajax to four Eredivisie titles during his six seasons at his boyhood club before making a £13.8 million move to Manchester United in 2014. He’s been vital for the Red Devils ever since playing in a variety of positions.
Midfield | Christian Eriksen
Another former Ajax star that has ended up at Spurs - and another bargain for the Premier League club. Spurs paid £11m for the Dane back in 2013 with the midfielder not missing a league match in both the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons. Impressive.
Midfield | Rafael Van der Vaart
Yet another player that has played for Spurs. Van der Vaart has had a very interesting career since leaving Ajax. He went to Hamburg after leaving the Amsterdam Arena before making a move to Real Madrid. He became a fan favourite at White Hart Lane before returning to Hamburg. He’s now at FC Midtjylland in Denmark.
Midfield | Wesley Sneijder
Sneijder is reaching the end of his career - but what a career he’s had.
Five years at Ajax, two years at Real Madrid, four years at Inter Milan and he’s now in his fifth season at Galatasaray. He’s won league titles for each of those clubs as well.
Striker | Luis Suarez
Suarez scored 111 goals in 159 appearances for Ajax before his move to Liverpool in 2011. He hasn’t looked back since with 82 goals in 133 appearances for the Premier League club before establishing himself as one of the world’s best striker at Barcelona where he’s notched 92 in 106. Not bad.
Striker | Zlatan Ibrahimovic
When Ajax signed Ibrahimovic from Malmo in 2001, they can’t have known what an incredible player he was going to become.
Zlatan has played for some of the best clubs in Europe after leaving Ajax in 2004. Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, and PSG - winning titles and scoring loads of goals for all of them.
He now finds himself at Manchester United where he has already bagged six goals in 11 appearances. He’s still got plenty of years playing at the top.
Striker | Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Huntelaar is definitely overshadowed by Suarez and Ibrahimovic but he’s still had an impressive career for himself.
He left Ajax for Real Madrid in 2009 before moving to AC Milan a year later. He’s now at Schalke, where he’s now in his seventh season. His 42 goals in 76 appearances for Netherlands shows just how good he is.
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