On this day 25-years-ago, Ajax lifted their fourth and last Champions League trophy with a 1-0 win over AC Milan in Vienna. Michael Bell looks at the Ajax stars from that night and what’s happened to them since.

Edwin van der Sar

The legendary Netherlands goalkeeper was only 24 during the Champions League final in Vienna and made one crucial save to deny Marco Simone.

Van der Sar would remain in Amsterdam for another four years before moving to Juventus in 1999. He would eventually lose his place to Gigi Buffon and leave for Fulham in 2001, where he spent four years before joining Manchester United. He excelled for the Premier League giants and lifted the Champions League trophy again in 2008. He retired in 2011 having also earned 130 caps for Netherlands and playing at five major tournaments.

Van der Sar returned to Ajax since his retirement and is now a CEO at the club.

Michael Reiziger

The solid right-back was a star for Louis van Gaal’s side during the final, but then departed in 1996 for an injury hit and disappointing year at AC Milan, who were clearly impressed by his performance in the final.

Reiziger would depart in 1997 for Barcelona, where he became a regular, making over 170 appearances for the club. Spells with Middlesbrough and PSV Eindhoven then followed before he retired in 2007 at the age of 34. He also earned 72 caps for Netherlands.

Since retiring, Reiziger has went into coaching, firstly with the youth teams of Sparta Rotterdam before he moved to Ajax, where he was Jong Ajax coach until 2019. He is now an assistant to Erik ten Hag.

Frank de Boer

Naturally a centre-back, De Boer was deployed on the left during the season by Van Gaal and flourished in the final. He would then move back to the centre and was part of the side that lost the final a year later against Juventus.

He would remain in Amsterdam until 1999 before joining Barcelona, where he spent four years, making over 140 appearances in Catalonia. After a year with Galatasaray, he joined his brother at spells with Rangers and Al-Rayyan, before retiring after only one appearance for Al-Shamal in 2006. He made 112 appearances for Netherlands, but was one of the players to miss a crucial penalty in the Euro 2000 semi-final against Italy.

De Boer then went into coaching, leading Ajax to four Eredivisie titles, before disappointing spells in charge of Inter Milan and Crystal Palace. De Boer is now head coach of Atalanta United in America.

Frank Rijkaard

The legendary midfielder and centre-back returned to Ajax for a second spell with the club in 1993 after winning two European cups with AC Milan.

He would start in the centre of defence against his former side in 1995 and was instrumental in their win. After the final whistle, Rijkaard was one of the most emotional players on the pitch and he would then retire from the game. Rijkaard won nearly everything as a player, including Euro 1988 with Netherlands.

He would then become a head coach, firstly with the Dutch national team, and he led Oranje to the semi-finals of Euro 2000 before resigning after the defeat on penalties to Italy. He then took charge of Sparta Rotterdam for a year.

Rijkaard then took charge of Barcelona in 2003 and had five great years with the club, winning two league titles and the Champions League in 2006. After a disappointing season in 2008, he left and then had short spells in charge of Galatasaray and the Saudi Arabian national team. Rijkaard retired in 2013 and has maintained that he has no interest in returning to the game.

Danny Blind

The captain and experienced head of the Ajax side in 1995, Blind was excellent in the final. He would then be part of the side that lost to Juventus a year later.

The accomplished centre-back had an excellent career and retired in 1999, having made over 370 appearances for Ajax. He made 42 appearances for the Dutch national team, playing in four major tournaments.

Blind would then go into coaching and spent a year in charge of Ajax, before he became a director with Sparta Rotterdam. He would return to Ajax a year later in a similar role before becoming assistant coach. In 2012, Blind was appointed an assistant with the Dutch national team, and eventually he took the rains himself in 2015.

He would fail to take Netherlands to the Euro’s in 2016 and was sacked in 2017 with the World Cup qualifiers also a disaster for Oranje. Blind hasn’t worked for a club since but has done regular work as a pundit on Dutch tv.

Clarence Seedorf

At only 19, Seedorf was one of the young stars of van Gaal’s side, but he would immediately leave the club after the final for Italian side Sampdoria.

Seedorf would then have an illustrious playing career that would take him to Real Madrid, Inter Milan, AC Milan and finally Botafogo. He would lift the Champions League trophy four times during his career, and is the only player to win the trophy with three different clubs.

Seedorf would earn 87 caps for the Dutch national team, and play in three semi-finals for Oranje.

Since retiring in 2014, Seedorf has moved into coaching, but has not found success in short spells with AC Milan, Shenzhen, Deportivo la Coruna and the Cameroon national team. He is currently without a job.

Edgar Davids

The pitbull was only 22 during the final but was a key player in van Gaal’s system. He would remain at the club and played the final again a year later, but missed the first penalty in the shootout defeat to Juventus.

Davids was part of the Bosman exodus after the 1996 final, and he joined AC Milan, where he did not impress. After a year, he moved to Juventus, where he became a key player for seven years. He had a short spell on loan with Barcelona before moving to Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur. In 2007 he had another year with Ajax, before ending his career with Crystal Palace and then Barnet, where he was player manager.

Davids earned 74 caps for Netherlands, but was sent home from the Euro 96 squad after a fallout. He would return to the squad in 1998 and was named in the team of the tournament

His two-year spell with Barnet has been his only coaching job since retiring, with Davids only recently completing his coaching badges fully.

Jari Litmanen

A genius of a footballer, Litmanen was a star of Van Gaal’s side and instrumental in their Champions League win. He would become a legend in Amsterdam during his seven year spell with the club before leaving in 1999 for Barcelona, where he teamed up again with Van Gaal.

Litmanen would then return to Ajax in 2002 after a spell with Liverpool, but in 2004 he departed Amsterdam again. He would go on to play for six more clubs around Europe including Fulham, before retiring in 2011 for HJK.

The Finnish star has decided against a career in coaching and has become a pundit in Finland.

Marc Overmars

The speedy winger was a star of van Gaal’s winning side in 1995 and scored in the semi-final win over Bayern Munich. A year later, Overmars crucially missed the lost final against Juventus.

Overmars would then join Arsenal in 1997, where he won the Premier League in 1998. He would then move to Barcelona for ยฃ25 million in 2000. He spent four years with Barcelona before retiring in 2004. He came out of retirement in 2008 to play a year with Go Ahead Eagles. Overmars made 86 appearances for Netherlands.

Since retirement, Overmars has become a director of football at Ajax, and has gained praise for his running of the club’s transfers and finances.

Finidi George

The Nigerian proved to be an outstanding signing by Van Gaal, when he made the move from Sharks FC in 1993. He would start on the right wing during the final victory, and kept the position a year later during the loss to Juventus.

George would then leave for Real Betis, before spells with Mallorca and Ipswich Town. He returned to Mallorca where he retired in 2004. He has since been a youth team coach with the Spanish club.

Ronald de Boer

Like his twin brother, Ronald began the final with Van Gaal preferring the more experienced forward instead of Patrick Kluivert. He would drop into midfield a year later for the final defeat to Juventus.

He remained at Ajax until 1999 and joined his brother at Barcelona. He would then play alongside him again with Rangers, Al-Rayyan and Al-Shamal before he retired in 2008. He made 67 appearances for Netherlands, and was one of the players who missed a penalty in the 1998 World Cup final against Brazil.

Since retiring, De Boer has been a head coach with Ajax’s U19 side, while also appearing on Dutch TV as a pundit.

Substitutes

Patrick Kluivert

The striker was a revelation during the season for Ajax, but began the final on the bench. However, Kluivert would be the hero by netting the winner in the 85th minute to become the youngest ever scorer in a Champions League final at 18 years old. A year later, Kluivert once again began the Champions League final on the bench but couldn’t make an impact as a substitute as Juventus eventually won on penalties.

Kluivert would then go on to AC Milan in 1997, but was not a success in Serie A. Barcelona snapped him up a year later and Kluivert enjoyed six years at the club, before joining Newcastle United in 2004. He then moved to Valencia, and PSV Eindhoven, before ending his career with Lille in 2008.

One of the most gifted strikers of his generation, Kluivert earned 79 caps for Netherlands, scoring 40 goals. He earned the golden boot at Euro 2000, but was along with Frank de Boer, one who missed a penalty during the 90 minutes of the semi-final defeat to Italy.

Since retiring, Kluivert coached Jong fc Twente, before taking charge of the Curacao national team between 2015 and 2016. He then became director of football with PSG for a short spell and is currently head of youth development with Barcelona.

Nwankwo Kanu

The tall striker proved to be another excellent find for Ajax after he joined the club in 1993 from Iwuanyanwu Nationale. He came on as a substitute during the final, but didn’t have the same impact on the wing as Kluivert did.

A year later, Kanu was preferred over Kluivert up front for the loss to Juventus. After the final, he left for Inter Milan, where he spent three disappointing years before joining Arsenal. He would excel in London before spells with West Brom and Portsmouth. The Nigerian international called time on his career in 2012.

Kanu is now a UNICEF ambassador.




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