Eredivisie winners, after a long and tenuous season, take the shield home, the material form that represents the grand achievement that is winning the Netherland’s top flight league. Well, in terms of shields, Ajax takes the throne, with 35 titles, against 24 from PSV Eindhoven: it’s quite clear who has been the top dog from the Netherlands.
That doesn’t mean, though, that the challenge is done and set for: if you remember the time Ajax went to the Champions League semi-finals, you may also remember that, just a year before, PSV managed to win the title against their main opponents. Also, you just need to look at live trend analysis by overlyzer.com, from the Netherland’s squad, to understand the level of quality that emanates from the Eredivisie, considering it’s such a small nation, and a league that is often undervalued by football fans, although it has plenty of attacking football, great young prospects even in the smaller teams, and an all-around good and spectacle-driven attitude towards the best sport around this whole wide blue and green marble. Total Football came, after all, from one skinny, elegant Netherlander that you may have heard from once or twice: Johan Cruyff.
Ten Haag has set his spirits, eyes and heart on Ajax’s project, and the results are for show: a positive philosophy of attacking football, intertwined positions, and a well-mixed portion of young and mature players, have made Ajax not only the best team in the Netherlands, but one of the best in the world. Considering they have lost players like De Ligt, Van de Beek, Ziyech and Frenkie de Jong, looking at Ajax’s squad, one wonders what they could do if they had the capacity to hold all that talent: the likes of Onana, David Neres, Haller, Tadic, Blind or Tagliafico, just to name a few, are already a sight to behold. Imagine those altogether. However, it’s just a matter of time until Ajax can retake of one Europe’s throne, if not for the king of football, one of its most prominent princes.
PSV Eindhoven is, without a single doubt, the only team that as a serious chance of going head first against Ajax and win the showdown. Eternal adversaries, the foes are not that far apart in terms of the quality of the squad. In fact, PSV has managed to create a very stable, quite interesting group of players, ranging from universally known players like Mario Gotze, Gutierrez, or Mallen, and adding young homegrown talent like the spectacular attacking midfielder Mohammed Ihattaren, or free-roaming Piroe, just to name a few that may set the tone for quite the positive season.
While we know that only one team has the chance to go the Champions League – and that is the winner – it gets particularly hard for those who come up in second to compete with the cash injection that the team qualified for the Champions League benefits from. From then on, one has to have a lot of respect for teams like PSV, but also Feyenoord, for trying to match Ajax and still provide competitive games to their main league. One thing is for sure: nothing was handed out in a silver platter to Ajax: they definitively deserve the stand they are in on dutch football, and is academy is considered, by many, to be the very best, only slightly matched by Benfica’s, Sporting’s and Barcelona’s one.