Ultimate Ajax dream team - Bergkamp and Van Basten in, Ibrahimovic and Suarez out
Named after a Greek mythological hero, Ajax are one of the greatest footballing institutions in the world.
The Amsterdam club has birthed some of the most iconic footballers in the history of our beautiful game.
Talk about Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Dennis Bergkamp and so many more, Ajax has to date continued to live up to their tradition with some great players graduating through their academy.
There are so many players to choose an Ajax dream team from, but we've handpicked the best of the best.
Let's take a look!
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GK: Edwin van der Sar
With over 200 appearances for Ajax in a nine-year spell, Edwin van der Sar leads this dream team majorly due to him being part of that famous squad which won the Champions League in 1995.
Van der Sar also won the best European goalkeeper award that year.
The flying Dutchman won 14 trophies with Ajax between 1990 and 1999 before moving to Juventus, Fulham and later Manchester United, where he won another Champions League.
Two other Ajax goalkeepers deserve to be mentioned here. First is Piet Schrijvers. The shot-stopper played 269 games for the club and even scored a goal for them. He spent nine years at the club, winning five Eredivisie titles and two KNVB Cups.
The second goalkeeper is Maarten Stekelenburg. The 2010 World Cup runner-up with the Netherlands graduated from Ajax's academy before going on to make 191 appearances for the club between 2002 and 2011. He won four Eredivisie titles and four KNVB Cups in his time there.
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RB: Wim Suurbier
Considered one of the greatest right-backs of all time, Wim Suurbier was part of Ajax's golden generation of the early 1970's.
He spent 13 seasons at the club, making 392 appearances and played a key part in Ajax's 'total football' team of the 70s which lifted the European Cup three times in a row between 1971 and 1973.
Suurbier won seven league titles among other trophies in his 392 appearances for Ajax before joining Schalke in 1977.
Velibor Vasovic competes with Suurbier for this spot. He joined Ajax after losing the 1966 European Cup final with Partizan Belgrade, but made amends in 1971 as he led Ajax to European Cup glory as captain (the first foreign captain in Ajax history) after a 2–0 victory over Panathinaikos. Vasovic won three Eredivisie titles, three KNVB Cups and a European Cup at Ajax.
CB: Frank Rijkaard
Amsterdam-born Frank Rijkaard lived every local boy's dream when he started his senior career with Ajax in 1980.
He stayed there for seven years in his first stint, making 205 appearances and also scoring 47 goals. After stints at Sporting and AC Milan, he returned to Ajax in 1993 for two years, leading them to a famous Champions League win in the 1994-95 season.
Rijkaard won 12 trophies at Ajax including five Eredivisie titles and the 1986-87 European Cup Winners' Cup.
Two other Dutchmen are worth mentioning here with the first being Barry Hulshoff. The defender made 283 appearances for Ajax, winning three back-to-back European Cups with that famous team of the 70s.
Secondly, Daley Blind, who had two separate spells at Ajax. He started his career at the club in 2008 and made 102 appearances before joining Manchester United in 2014. In 2018, he returned to Ajax, making another 124 appearances before moving to Bayern Munich in January 2023. At Ajax, Blind won seven league titles, two KNVB Cups and two Johan Cruyff shields.
CB: Frank de Boer
A vital part of Ajax's 1995 Champions League winning squad, Frank de Boer graduated from the club's academy to go on to make 328 appearances for the club between 1988 and 1999.
De Boer won five Eredivisie titles, two KNVB Cups, three Super Cups, one Super Cup, one Uefa Cup, one Champions League, and one Intercontinental Cup at Ajax.
A unique fact about Frank is that he has a twin brother named Ronald, with whom he was teammates at Ajax, Barcelona, Rangers, Al-Rayyan, Al-Shamal and the Netherlands national team.
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LB: Ruud Krol
One of the most famous defenders, not only in Ajax, but also in Netherlands history, Ruud Krol was part of the famous team which won three back-to-back European Cups.
Krol was so versatile that he could also slot in as a sweeper or a defensive midfielder and did so on multiple occasions for Ajax.
He made 339 appearances for Ajax between 1968 and 1980, captaining the club in his last seven years there after the departures of Johan Cruyff, Johan Neeskens and Piet Keizer.
Krol won six Eredivisie titles among multiple other trophies with Ajax.
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RM: Johan Neeskens
One of the greatest midfielders in Dutch history, Neeskens was the heartbeat of Ajax's 'Total Football' era in the 1970s.
The midfielder won three straight European Cups with Ajax in 1971, 1972 and 1973 along with two Eredivisie titles, two KNVB Cups, an Intercontinental Cup and two European Super Cups.
A year after Cruyff left for Barcelona, Neeskens followed in his footsteps to make the same move.
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CM: Edgar Davids
Davids graduated from Ajax's youth academy to make his first appearance for the senior team in 1991 and was part of their famous team that won the Champions League in 1995.
The midfielder enjoyed two different spells at the club. The first came as part of 106 games between 1991 and 1996, in which he scored 20 goals before moving to Milan followed by Juventus, Barcelona(loan), Inter and Tottenham.
In 2007, he returned to Ajax for his second spell and made 25 appearances. Davids won 10 trophies with Ajax including three Eredivisie titles and a UEFA Cup.
Clarence Seedorf is another former Ajax star that gets a strong shout in this dream team. Although he didn't make as many appearances for the club as Davids, Seedorf was a breath of fresh air in the squad that won the domestic treble, securing the Eredivisie title, the KNVB Cup and the Dutch Super Cup in the 1993-94 season. The next season, he went on to help Ajax win the Champions League after defeating Milan in the 1994-95 final. Seedorf later went on to join Milan in 2002 before going on to become the greatest midfielder in the Italian club's history.
LM: Jari Litmanen
Litmanen became the first Finnish player to ever play for Ajax, winning the Champions League with them in 1995.
The attack-minded midfielder joined the club in 1992 and went on to make 159 appearances for the club, scoring 91 goals and winning 14 trophies in his seven-year stay in Amsterdam.
Litmanen also featured for Barcelona and Liverpool in his career.
Wesley Sneijder comes close to Litmanen in this team. The Dutch legend graduated from Ajax's academy before making his senior debut in 2002. He made 126 appearances in five years at the club, scoring 43 goals. Sneijder won four trophies at Ajax before Real Madrid signed him in 2007 when he was at the peak of his powers.
RF: Dennis Bergkamp
After starting out wide, mostly as someone occupying the space between the wings and central midfield, Dennis Bergkamp transitioned himself into more of a 'playmaking' striker.
The Dutchman is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation and one of Ajax and Arsenal's greatest-ever players.
After being given his Ajax debut by manager Johan Cruyff, Bergkamp went on to make 185 senior appearances for the club between 1986 and 1993, scoring 103 goals. At Amsterdam, he won one Eredivisie title, two KNVB Cups, a Uefa Cup and a European Cup Winners' Cup.
The first striker that deserves an honourable mention here is without a doubt Piet Keizer.
To those who don't know, Keizer is widely considered one of the greatest players in Dutch football history. Dutch writer Nico Scheepmaker once said: "Cruyff is the best, but Keizer is the better one."
Now that's saying something!
Keizer totalled 490 official matches for Ajax, scoring 189 goals between 1961 and 1974 and won three consecutive European Cups (1971, 1972, 1973). Additionally, he won six Eredivisie titles, five KNVB Cups, two European Super Cups, one Intercontinental Cup and an Intertoto Cup.
Secondly, there's Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan joined Ajax in 2007 and stayed there for four years. He won the KNVB Cup and the Eredivisie while scoring a 81 goals in just 110 games to catch the eye of Premier League giants Liverpool. Suarez later went on to play for Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
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CF: Marco van Basten
Three-time Ballon d'Or winner Marco van Basten is one of the greatest strikers in history.
The Ajax and Milan legend scored 219 goals in 281 games he played at club level. From those goals, 128 came at Ajax from just 133 appearances between 1981 and 1987.
After scoring 300 goals as a professional footballer, Van Basten sadly played the last game of his career at the age of 28 when he suffered an injury that forced him to retire from the game.
Van Basten won three Eredivisie titles, three KNVB Cups and one European Cup Winners' Cup.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic deserves his moment to shine here. The Swedish striker joined Ajax from Malmo in 2001 and during his three-year stint in Amsterdam, he scored 35 goals in 74 games, winning two Eredivisie titles, a KNVB Cup and the Johan Cruyff Shield, before joining Juventus in 2004.
LF: Johan Cruyff
You've possibly heard everything you needed to hear about the great Johan Cruyff already. But, we'll try to be a bit different.
Cruyff is the greatest Dutch footballer ever and one of the greatest players ever.
The three-time Ballon d'Or winner was one of the biggest reasons behind Ajax being able to win three back-to-back European Cups between 1970 and 1973.
After winning 18 trophies at Ajax, he moved to Barcelona for a world record fee in 1973.
Not many can dream about competing with Cruyff's legacy at Ajax except maybe this one!
A true one-club man, Sjaak Swart played 596 matches for Ajax in his career, scoring 217 goals. Nicknamed 'Mr. Ajax', he was a crucial part of the club's European Cup victories in 1971, 1972, 1973. Apart from these three trophies, Swart won seven Eredivisie titles, five KNVB Cups, two European Super Cups, an Intertoto Cup and an Intercontinental Cup at Ajax.