The UCL always seems to have an underdog that goes under the radar and makes it deeper into the competition than expected. And in the 2018/19 season it was Ajax.
Ajax shocked the world by knocking out holders Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16. This included a convincing 4-1 win at the Bernabeu. The underdogs managed to reach a Champions League semi final and would’ve made it all the way to the final if it wasn’t for a historic performance from Tottenhams Lucas Moura.
4 years have passed so today we are going to look at where the semi finalist squad are now.
GK: Andre Onana
Onana stayed at the dutch side for another 3 years. In 2021 the goalkeeper was banned for 9 months for a doping violation. Onana signed for Inter Milan in 2022, featuring in the champions league final defeat against Manchester City this year.
He is now currently being linked with a move away from Serie A to Manchester United.
LB: Nicolas Tagliafico
The Argentinian international also left Ajax in 2022 moving to Ligue 1 to play for Lyon. He was also part of the 2022 World Cup winning Argentina side.
CB: Matthijs De Ligt
After the sale of Davidson Sanchez to Tottenham in 2017. Matthijs became a first team starter for Ajax. He was one of the most promising young talents in the world with all the best clubs in Europe keeping an eye on him.
De Ligt became the youngest Ajax captain in March 2018 due to the injury to club captain Joel Veltman. And After an impressive 2018/19 campaign, De Ligt signed for Serie A side Juventus for €75 million. However, although he won a Serie A title and a Coppa Italia, he didn’t reach expected heights. He spent 3 years there before moving to German giants Bayern Munich where he currently plays.
CB: Daley Blind
Blind was one of the seniors of the Ajax side. He remained in the Netherlands until 2023 where he also moved to Bayern Munich.
RB: Noussair Mazraoui
Another defender who made the move to Bayern Munich in 2022.
He went on to have an impressive World Cup for Morocco in 2022 helping them become the first African side to reach a World Cup semi final.
CM: Frankie De Jong
The second member of Ajax’ golden trio and perhaps the star player of the side, after his impressive season the Dutchman earned the move to Barcelona for €75 million. He was wanted by the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and PSG but the Dutchman chose to move to the Camp Nou.
CM: Donny Van de Beek
The last member of the golden trio had one of the most underwhelming careers after his time in the Netherlands.
He made the move to Premier League side Manchester United in 2020 for £40 million. He had little involvement and impact for the following two seasons in Manchester.
Because of this, in January 2022 Manchester United sent him on loan to Everton. He started his spell there really well starting in 5 of his first 6 matches. However, he was plagued with injuries and sub par performances until his loan ended.
Still at Manchester United current manager Erik Ten Hag is looking to move the midfielder on as he doesn’t consider him in his plans for the future.
CM: Lasse Schöne
Currently aged 37, Schöne made the move to Italian side Genoa in 2019 and after two years he now plays for NEC
LW: David Neres
David Neres was a promising young Brazilian. After his successful season Neres had interest from big clubs like Manchester United and Atletico Madrid. However, he decided to sign a new contract with Ajax.
He fell out of favour soon after making the move to Ukrainian side Shaktar Donetsk as a result. He only stayed there for a year before moving to Portuguese side Benfica where he provided two assists on his debut.
RW: Hakim Ziyech
Another underwhelming player was Hakim Ziyech.
The Moroccan made the move to Chelsea in 2020. Although he couldn’t replicate his form in the Eredivise he became a European champion with Chelsea in 2021.
The Moroccan was also a star player in the 2022 World Cup leading Morocco to their first ever World Cup semi final.
Fast forward to 2023 and the Moroccan has been linked to the Saudi Pro League to potentially see out the remainder of his career.
CF: Dusan Tadić
Tadić has become a icon for Ajax. He is the only player from this eleven who is still at the club to this day.
The striker has scored 105 goals and registered 112 assists in 241 games for the club.
Manager: Erik Ten Hag
Ten Hag made the move to the Premier League in 2022 where became manager of Manchester United and had a respectable first season.
He managed to end their 6 year trophy drought by winning the Carabao Cup as well as securing top 4 for the side getting them back into the Champions League.
Read more of our content here.