Regardless of what team you support or how much you despise the sides around you, at some point, everyone needs to take a minute to stop and admire the work of others. We aren’t saying that you need to go completely over the top with your praise or anything like that, because football fans are stubborn. However, there are rare instances in which you just can’t ignore the facts that are staring you right in the face.
Case in point: how is anyone going to try and tell me that you don’t want to praise Ajax for what they’ve been able to accomplish this season? They’ve been able to build a team capable of winning the UEFA Champions League, which is the kind of sentence that would’ve been laughed off just a year or so ago. They have now been able to turn over Real Madrid and Juventus in the UCL this season, arguably two of the best teams in the competition – outside of maybe Barcelona and Manchester City.
They have absolutely no fear, and why should they? They’ve rediscovered that cohesion and team spirit that has made them such a force to be reckoned with across the last few decades of European competition. Sure, they’ve gone through a few bad spells along the way, but it certainly feels like this is what they’ve been building towards.
Worth a thought
From the perspective of Arsenal this is particularly interesting, because for the most part, they were able to bring through young talents. That isn’t exactly a brand new concept that the Dutch side thought up overnight, but it certainly is one that they’ve been able to execute to perfection. They know how to build their players from the ground up, and they know how to bring them through their developmental system in a way that is going to benefit both the club and the players themselves.
Arsenal have had their moments when it comes to discovering great youth talent, but perhaps they need to invest more into it. Ajax also paid the necessary fees to bring in a few star players and we can completely understand why, but in the end, it’s all about finding that balance. If you don’t have that, then you can’t even begin to think about being successful at the highest level.
What is the biggest takeaway you have from Ajax’s successful run in the Champions League this season?