Alongside the many great youth systems around the world of football stands AFC Ajax, with the Dutch side possessing one of the richest backgrounds in all of the land. No, we aren’t talking about their financial state, we’re talking in terms of their legacy.
Great players, both past and present, began their journey in Amsterdam, and here’s the best starting XI from that collection.
As is always the case there’s bound to be a few contentious decisions on this list, but now more than ever we should instead focus on celebrating this great club. After all, you don’t reach European final after European final without picking up a few notable stars along the way.
Much has been said about their youth system in the past, much in the same vein as a side like Manchester United, but when you’ve had some of these legends pulling on your colours over the years it must be hard not to be a tad smug.
Edwin van der Sar
Cool, calm, collected – legendary. Edwin van der Sar is one of football’s greatest goalkeeping gifts, and it all began on the hallowed turf of Amsterdam Arena. Image Source: Twitter
The Spurs fans are begging Toby to re-sign and there’s no points for guessing why. The guy has been an absolute rock at the heart of their defence and that’s been the case ever since he first laced up a pair of boots. Source: Twitter
Frank de Boer
One half of the de Boer brothers, Frank always seemed to excel in a way that went above and beyond what many would’ve expected of him. After over a decade with his beloved Ajax he took his talents to the Nou Camp. Impressive. Image Source: Twitter
Despite not finding the success he craved at Barca, Thomas Vermaelen should still be recognised as one of the finest defenders to ever stem from Ajax’s youth system. He’s efficient, hard working and will snap you in half if it means winning the game.
Image Source: Twitter
In terms of his generation, Frank Rijkaard is right up there with the best of them when it comes to top tier talent. Whether it be in Amsterdam or Milan, players feared going up against this man. Image Source: Twitter
Revolutionary. Iconic. One of the best ever. Take your pick. Image Source: Twitter
We’ll forever be wondering whether or not any other man on earth could pull off glasses as well as this bloke, with Edgar Davids being a shining example of how hard work and commitment to the cause can translate into being a phenomenal footballer. Image Source: Twitter
Some people may forget that Seedorf’s origins come from The Netherlands, with the midfield general winning the first of his four European Cups with Ajax. Image Source: Twitter
Marco van Basten
Despite the many injuries that plagued his career, Marco van Basten should and will forever be remembered as one of the greatest footballers of all time. Period. Image Source: Twitter
The genius. Dennis Bergkamp is a Dutch hero in many respects and is a representative of why so many people adore the game over there. He’ll never be replicated, and the Non-Flying Dutchman could probably do a job for most teams to this day. Image Source: Twitter
Despite not being favoured among many, the presence and quality of Patrick Kluivert is undoubtable. He may not have succeeded everywhere he went, but we’ll never forget those Barca and Ajax days. Image Source: Twitter
SEE ALSO: Patrick Kluivert: the ultimate Bosman
In their prime, there’s an argument to be made that this side would be – at the very least – in the top 10 when it comes to the all time great teams. That may be a slight overstatement given the vast difference in quality between the back four and the attacking side of things, but let’s just embrace what a legendary club Ajax truly is.