What if Ajax had retained their best players in the last decade?
- An Ajax XI of former players looks like a Champions League pedigree team
Tottenham Hotspur’s Belgian central defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld were both partners at Ajax and left the club a season apart. The two players have impressed at the north London club, especially the latter in the current Premier League season with Vertonghen’s season hit by injury.
Vertonghen joined the Spurs from Ajax in the summer of 2012 soon after winning the Player of the Year award the previous season. He had also taken home the Dutch Footballer of the Year award in 2012 and his first season with Tottenham also saw him make the Premier League PFA Team of the Year. A defender who scored 28 goals with Ajax, he brought those numbers to England with him and scored six goals in his debut season.
Alderweireld took a detour through Atletico Madrid and a loan spell at Southampton before Mauricio Pochettino brought him to Spurs. Six seasons at Ajax saw him win three league titles in consecutive years and a KNVB Cup before he decided not to extend his contract, after which Ajax had no option but to sell him.
PSG’s full-backs Gregory van der Wiel and Maxwell complete the back four. Both players are two-time Eredivisie champions, although almost a decade apart. 34-year-old Maxwell has won titles wherever he has played, be it Inter Milan, Barcelona or PSG; with a total of 11 winners medals.
The Dutch Footballer of the Year for 2003/04 has also won the Champions League with Barcelona. Van der Wiel, on the other hand, was signed by PSG from Ajax in 2012 for €6 million and he has not looked back since, winning the league title in every season so far.Published 22 Mar 2016, 18:32 IST