Tag: ajax

The making of Luis Suárez: a year in Groningen

As featured on Guardian Sport Despite its obvious and very pragmatic function, the humble umbrella has proven itself more foe than friend to football managers. The modern game’s umbrella-related history is short and…

Andy van der Meyde: short skirts, drugs and alcohol

Ajax Amsterdam are one of the most successful football clubs in the world and the most famous of the Netherlands’ club sides. Famed for their highly successful youth academy, the early to…

Patrick Kluivert and a lesson in scoring goals

Wheeling away in celebration, Patrick Kluivert attempts to take his top off only to think better of it halfway through. It’s the 85th minute in the 1995 Champions League final and he’s just…

De Klassieker: the Ajax-Feyenoord rivalry

TRADITIONALLY, ‘while Amsterdam dreams, Rotterdam works’ – or so the saying goes. Extending the stereotype, Ajax Amsterdam often appear to mirror their hedonistic city’s defiant confidence. It appears – wrongly – as…

The injury curse of Thomas Vermaelen and the road to recovery

THE CAMP NOU SIGHED IN UNISON as Samuel Umtiti hobbled off the pitch against Celta Vigo. With Argentine stalwart Javier Mascherano already out injured, the Blaugrana returned to worrying about centre-backs, as…

The rise and fall of Mido, Egypt’s volatile son

BACK WHEN I WAS NINE YEARS OLD, we had a family vacation in England. As we were walking down the street in Cobham, Surrey, my father spotted a couple of Chelsea players,…

Louis van Gaal: a divisive success story

TO SOME, HE’S ONE OF THE BEST MANAGERS OF THE PAST TWO DECADES, willing to sacrifice style for substance and flair for formality. To others, he’s an unnerving disciplinarian, an expert at…

Johan Cruyff: talent spotter, manager, orchestrator and genius

Illustration by Federico Manasse The multifarious sphere of footballing history encompasses many greats. Some prove greatness via a trophy cabinet, some gain notoriety for a single goal or piece of skill, some…

The making of Zlatan Ibrahimović at Ajax

Zlatan Ibrahimović arrived at Ajax as a gangly target man but would with the platform to become of the best strikers ever seen in European football

Jan Mølby: Liverpool’s original pass master

THERE WAS A TIME, NOT LONG AGO, when footballers were permitted the luxury of vastly different physical forms and appearances. Today’s identikit toolbox of tattoos, ruggedly groomed facial hair, short back and…

Edwin van der Sar: the master of Cruyffian methods in goal

FOOTBALLERS TEND TO decline as they move into their 30s, with dimming enthusiasm and an assortment of injuries tending to slowly draw the curtain on their careers. But goalkeepers are the anomaly…