Mino Raiola: The Greatest

I got the request to write a piece on Mino Raiola, the Super Agent. I had this piece in preparation so the timing is perfect. Raiola on money, De Ligt, Ajax, Restaurant Napoli and transfers…

Last transfer window, it was mostly Raiola in the news. In particular his buddy-ship with Mark van Bommel and their coupe in Eindhoven… That topic is reserved for later…

A VI reporter visited Raiola in his office in Monte Carlo. “I don’t mean to be arrogant but I think I created this whole industry. Calcio Mercato, it’s an industry now. It’s like the entertainment world. I gave this new world colour as I am a stand up guy, who always speaks his truth and stand up for my players. In Italy, the day starts with football. That is culturally like this for many decades. The morning starts with a cappuccino and the sports papers. The Dutch are more down to Earth but at the end of the day, just as football crazy as the Italians.”

“The opening of the transfer window is like the premiere of a new musical. Curtains up and we need to perform. And the spotlights are on us agents, for a couple of weeks. We need to do the business in this small time frame, but make no mistake. I have guided Haaland now, but that job took a year. And his dad Ale Haaland, an ex pro player, was closely involved. We talked with the clubs, we listened to their plans, we assessed their offers…”

With adopted son Van Bommel

The phone rings. As it constantly does. This time, two women. Two old friends. The mothers of Calvin Stengs and Myron Boadu. They know each other for years now as they met when the two players started their friendship, in kindergarten. “I always work with the families. I include them in everything. And top players always have top parents. I am completely transparant. I’m taking Doynell Malen to Pittsburgh for instance and discuss the whole process with his family. Everyone is focused on “Can Malen reach the Euros?”. I’m not. It’s not about the Euros, it’s about his career and health. He’s going to be out for 4 months at least. Boadu and Zlatan spent time together in Pittsburgh last year. One day after Zlatan’s operations, Boadu saw him work out. Doing his excercises. Zlatan is the ideal warrior. He’s a beast. And I think it triggered Myron. He’s 38 years old now and went to AC Milan to win silverware. It says everything!”

Haaland, Malen, Stengs, Boadu, Wijndal, they’re all in Raiola’s portfolio. The future of Oranje according to him is Justin Kluivert, however. “When he decided to go to Rome, everyone in Holland was upset. How can Raiola do this to Kluivert, etc etc. This is bad for Dutch football, etc. But…where were they all when Sepp van den Berg went to Liverpool? I didn’t hear anyone! And Redan and Chong? And Zirkzee? If it was me who guided them, the nation would have been too small. But now? Nothing. And when Ajax signs a 16 year old kid from Norway, you also don’t hear anyone. It’s ridiculous!”

Stengs, Wijndal, Boadu

“Stengs, Boadu, Malen, Wijndal and even Gravenberch could have signed with huge clubs with huge paychecks. All of them. But they’re still in Holland. You don’t hear people about that, do you? I get calls about them on a daily basis. And we decided in conjunction with the family that another year in Holland was best. And when Ajax comes with a good plan for Boadu and Stengs, we’ll definitely listen.”

“And I get the question: Mino, who do I go for? Malen or Boadu? And I’m like: what kind of question is that. What do you need? A Ferrari or a Lambo? And the smart club will sign them all! But I am not saying they should reach for the top as yet. An intermediate step is probably best. But… we all know step-by-step is best, but… Consider this. Assume Barca or Madrid comes for one of them. With a big offer. Do we need to say no? Do we need to consider his career? Or his life? Can you stand in the player’s shoes? Is it not hard to resist that offer? It’s easy for the supporter or analyst to judge, but those are dilemmas. And I have to deal with that. Players can get injured and lose it all. We’re dealing with someone’s life and the life of his family. Boadu and Stengs both suffered severe injuries before, remember. That can happen. They were lucky to get back to the top. There is no guarantee. And Klaassen, he went when he was 24 years old already. To an EPL mid-tier club. And look how that went.”

In his office in Monaco, the entrance has a serious series of amazing jerseys framed on the wall. An impressive list. With personalised messages on the shirts. Pogba, Lozano, Matuidi, Donnarumma, Balotelli, Kean, De Ligt… “People like to see this. It’s important but not to boast for me. I am not interested in what I have done, only what I will be doing.”

And in his personal office, there is nothing that points towards football. The second big passion of Mino is represented here. Posters of 007 movies are on the wall. “When I die, I want to reincarnate as James Bond. I am a big fan. He only needs to say his name and the ladies undress, hahaha. Daniel Craig is my fave. He’s more human. More layers. He suffers at times.”

Raiola is open and hospitable. On his desk are books, like Thinking Fast and Slow, The School of Life and We are our brain by Dick Swaab. There is also a book by PSV general manager Toon Gerbrands. Raiola spoke with him only recently to discuss Van Bommel’s sacking. “Mark is family for me. When Mark is sad, I am sad. Mark is paying the price for the fact that last season PSV has a better team than this season. That is all I will say about it.”

“Mark is a perfectionist. And I appreciate that, but his strength is his weakness. He is world class in everything but not everyone is like that. Marcel Brands was too. John de Jong is not experienced enough. A guy like De Jong should work with a seasoned coach like Cocu. I don’t worry about Mark though, he will at some point become one of the best in the business. And he’s not arrogant. He wants to learn. He has a good name and many clubs, internationally, have already contacted me. He will take a break but he’ll be back.”

Squeezing the last dollars from Zlatan’s body!

Business cards are not present in Mino’s office. “My work are my player. I don’t do websites either. I work on trust. On a handshake. When I don’t feel it with a player, I won’t work with him. Players are like artists. Take Pogba. He’s a Basquiat. Expressive. Rebellious. De Ligt is a Rembrandt. The drawing you see now, already great, will end up being an amazing masterpiece like the Nightwatch. Unique. He had a tough time at Juve in the beginning but that’s normal. He is taking it in his stride and is taking it in like a sponge.”

De Ligt’s move to Juve was one of the most talked about topic last summer. Juve paid $75M for the Ajax defender and it took a long time for the pen to hit paper. According to Mino, that was all Ajax’ doing. “I don’t want to say too much about it, because the main thing is that Matthijs is happy. But Ajax made promises to Matthijs and broke them. It’s that simple. He could have signed for Juve a season before and Ajax pleaded with him to stay for one more season. And he did. There were verbal agreements made. But that season, the transfer market exploded for Ajax players, due to their CL campaign. And when Frenkie signed for Barca for a record fee, Ajax wanted more for De Ligt, suddenly.  What frustrates me, is that it was at the expense of Matthijs. I identify with my players, so when Matthijs is done wrong, it’s done to me as well. I am De Ligt.”

But, didn’t Overmars and Van de Sar do what Raiola does as well? Play hardball? “Yes, I’m tough. But I never promise something and then break my promise. Ever. I don’t have an issue with Marc or Edwin but I believe in handshake deals and trust and loyalty. Because I guarantee results to my players. And when Ajax or anyone else does this sorta thing, a player can look at me and say: what about your guarantee? I work with many top clubs in Europe like this, and I hope with Ajax too, in the future. Is the anger gone? My anger? It should be… It simply wasn’t the way it should be. And any case you are involved in, influences the next. Next time Ajax promises something, I want it on paper. I am happy to lose out on something but I don’t want my player to take the brunt of it.”

A lot of people felt De Ligt should have gone to Barcelona. “A lot of people say Barca is a Dutch club. And therefore it was sacrilege to bring Mat to Juve. I don’t work in my emotion. Barca for me is like NAC Breda or Watford. A club. I think about what is good for the player. They really believed at Barca that they could get De Ligt because Frenkie went there too. But do you think Pique will step aside for De Ligt? Just like that? And Matthijs actually always wanted to go to Juventus. He wants to be the best defender in the land of best defending. The interest from PSG and Barca and other clubs was intriguing, for him. But he went for Juve. And not for the money. Money doesn’t interest him. If Juve would require him to pay contribution, he would.  am here to make sure no one takes advantage of him. I have a good relationship with Pavel Nedved, technical director of Juventus. He’s like a son to me. Pavel says: “This kid is even more crazy than I was in his sports mentality. He himself is a Ballon d’Or!” When you tell Matthijs that by shaving his head he will win 1,2% speed or tackle verocity he will immediately shave his head.”

Raiola speaks seven languages. He studied Law and knows everyone in football. But the restaurant in Haarlem, operated by his parents, was his real university. “Ristorante Napoli was my university. My dad worked day and night. and I always went to assist him. What a man. Sweet for the family, tough at work. At 14 years old, I did the accounting and tax stuff for him. We had a lot of famous people come here. Shell top brass, but also Tonnie Bruins Slot, Michael van Praag, lots of politicians and artists. And also the boys from the bad neighbourhoods. It was like the Sopranos at times, hahaha.” Raiola does have that mafia image a bit. Sunglasses, overweight and swimming in money. The deal he made for Pogba at Man United paid Raiola $49 million euros over 5 years, according to the internet. “I never put a gun on anyone’s head at Man United. They wanted him and I made a good deal. But don’t tell anyone this: I kinda lime my image. And I really don’t care what people think of me. I believe in Holland I’m considered the worst man, after all the pedofiles. But in Italy, I’m a star. I can’t walk the streets there. People want to be on a selfie with me, or thanks me. When I finalised the De Ligt transfer to Juve, the Juventus tifosi sang for me, hahahaha.”

With Mkhitaryan and Pogba

“What drives me? Money not so much anymore. That is just a result of what you do. What drives me is the ability to help players and make their dreams come true. The hug I get from Boadu. That is my real pay. When Wijndal calls me and says “tell Real Madrid I’ll be coming soon!” that is what I love. And he means it! And I tell him: yep, I’ll be there, helping you to get there! You see, money follows dreams. And I can do this job for 50 years. But a player only has 15 years max to make his money. You can’t buy groceries with trophies, you know? And I do what is best for them. And when I do well, I get paid too. Simple. And when I don’t have a click with a player, I won’t represent him. And I don’t sign contracts with them. When they want to go better elsewhere, please do. Same with me. I want to be able to say: mate, I’m letting you go. Sorry. De Ligt, Haaland, Malen, Stengs, Kean, Donnarumma, Zlatan, Gravenberch, they give me energy. My wife always says: you have two official kids and than a whole bunch of non-official kids, hahaha.”

Not long ago, Raiola entered the dressing room of PSV, after a match vs Heerenveen. That was not done, everyone said. “Typical Dutch. What does it matter. I enter the dressing room at AC Milan often. You know what I want, I want to find a women player who is so good that Ajax signs her up and uses her. To break all these conventions. The football world needs innovation. In the US they do everything in the dressing room after a game. Interviews, eat, drink, sleep. PSV was in a tough phase and I have a couple of them under contract and I wanted to support them and congratulate them after their win. That was all it was.”

Source: VI Pro

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  1. Hi Jan,
    Thank you for posting this article on Mino Raiola.

    Wonder is it possible to post the updates on Memphis Depay.
    How is his recovery going on and hopefully he is able to play in the coming up Euro 2020.

    Thanks Jan 🙂

  2. Justin Bijlow has made a strong return after Vermeers deptaure and could be in contension for euros especially with cillessen out of the picture at Valencia.he kind of switched off after a good debut season under GVB.good to see him redeeming under Adovcaat.defintely a future for NT.

  3. AZ-NAC 1:3. AZ lost today to Breda 1:3. Although football is a collective game and often a loss means that entire team failed to deliver. However, we as fans always look for a scapegoat. For me today the scapegoat was Arne Slot. A little background information about encounters between AZ and NAC. Regardless of the level of competition, matches between these two teams have been very intense. Since 1991, AZ won 20 times from NAC but also lost 13 times and 8 times teams tied the game. In KNVB Cup competition AZ and NAC met twice with one win for AZ and another for NAC. Keep in mind that the timeframe includes one of the glorious periods for the team of Alkmaar. AZ have always struggled with keeping NAC counters under the control. Things happens, teams always have historically difficult and “easy” opponents. However, one thing that I always appreciate in people is learning from the mistakes of the predecessors. John van den Brom’s AZ was all about attacking. Particularly, when AZ was playing with “weaker” teams. Very often team gave away a lot of space in the back which was very efficiently used by teams like NAC and Roda (another hardass for AZ). Unfortunately, Arne Slot did not do a good job for this game. He decided to go with the same composition of the team which was a good decision. Thomas Ouwejan was given a place in a starting lineup as Wijndal was not fit for the game. AZ started the game too confident with Myron wasting a few opportunities. By 20th minute it was clear that midfield did not even think to come back to help defenders during ball losses. Particularly, right flank has been under strong pressure and Svensson worked his ass hard to keep up with NAC counters. Meanwhile, Myron was continuing wasting opportunities or simply walking in the field as a model on podium (Memphis type of walks). His rating by half time was the lowest in AZ (5.9/10). However, Arne Slot kept his faith in Myron. When Idrissi reduced the score (1:2), I thought it was time to build more pressure on NAC 9-men defense and bring Ferdy at the expense of Myron (obviously zero contribution) and keep defense intact as all four played very well, including Ouwejan. And here Arne started doing a chain of strange substitutions. First one made some sense (Dani De Witt out, Yukinari in): he moved Stengs to a playmaker position as Dani was lacking a creativity and let Yukinari play as a right winger. At the same time it did not make any sense as the only effective way to brake NAC defense was playing through wings. Nothing happened as a result of this sub: Stengs struggled in a playmaker position as he was unable to overcome the 9-men wall and Japanese was not very effective as a winger. Then next substitution came which was the most absurd ones: Thomas Ouwejan out Ferdy in. Knowing that defense already struggles, Arne replaces a defender and brings a new attacker making even crowder the NAC goalkeeping area. He obviously kept his faiths in his golden boy, Myron, which was not delivering at all. Things that worked in the past, did not work this time. The third sub was not very smart either: Svensson out – Aboukhlal in. Yukinari went on Svensson’s position and Aboukhlal as a right winger. After three minutes it became 1:3. I think the main reason why AZ lost this game was very poor decision of Arne Slot to keep his faith on one player (Myron) who was obviously mis-performing, and being biased towards others (Ouwejan and Ferdi). I hope, Arne will learn from this game as next week AZ will play with Austrian club which is 10X of NAC. LASK play very athletic football pressurizing the opponent on every foot of the field which AZ hate so much. AZ will need to play very compact game in order to withstand LASK. With respect to Myron, he needs to get a message that there are no lousy games and if the coach trusts him, he needs to perform each game. There is a political aspect here too. AZ management knows that three boys, including Stengs, Wijndal, and Boadu will most likely leave the club this summer. In order to raise their market values, they can not keep them in the bench…Unfortunately, players know that too and if they are not mature enough they will allow themselves to have periodically lousy games. Particularly, this is related to Myron. I have been very hard on this boy but trust me I know what I am talking about

  4. Just looked at the market values for the AZ players who might leave the club this summer:
    1. Stengs – $22 million euros
    2. Boadu – $22 million euros
    3. Wijndal -$9.9 million euros
    4. Koopmeiners – $15.4
    5. Idrissi – $16.5 million

    The other question is who is really ready to play abroad? Let’s compare the previous $$$ sales with current players. Within last three years AZ have had three expensive transactions: two central strikers, Vinsent Janssen and Wout Weghorst, and one right winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh. Let’s compare Eredivisie performance of Wout, Vins, and Myron based on following criteria, including, Talent, Work Rate, Effectiveness, and Goal Index (number of goals scored per gamed played in AZ multiplied by 10). If we look at these four factors Janssen looked slightly stronger than Weghorst (Table 2). However, even he was not ready to play in EPL. Perhaps his life would have gone differently if he left for France or Bundesliga but EPL was way to strong for him. But my conclusion about Vins was that he left AZ too early. Weghorst stayed two years in AZ and he progressed tremendously due to his outstanding workrate. He left for a reasonable club and on time and he has been successful so far. Undoubtedly, Myron is much more talented than two others but his workrate is mediocre, he never defends which is the biggest “no no” if one plays in major league. His efficiency rate is so low, in average he scores once before he misses five clear opportunities. I am pretty sure if Vins had such providers as Idrissi and Stengs he would have scored much more than Boadu has now. My conclusion is that whoever wants to pay $22 mm for Boadu this summer will waste their money. At any expense AZ needs to keep him in Alkmaar for another season. A lot will depend on Mino Riola. If he cares about players as he states in his interview he needs to convince Boadu to stay in AZ and work on his efficiency rate.
    Table 1. Strikers
    Talent Work Rate Efficiency Goal Index Total
    Janssen 4 4 4 7.9 19.9
    Weghorst 3 5 3 5.5 17.5
    Boadu 5 3 2 5.5 15.5
    * I tried to give more weight to the number of goals per game as at the end that is what we value in attackers.

    Jahanbakhsh vs Stengs. I included Idrissi into this list too, although he is a left winger. The first two are very different type of players although occupy the same areas of influence. Jahanbakhsh spent three seasons in AZ by peaking in his third season. Not only was he scoring, he made numerous assists that let Wout to score at least 50% of his goals. Like Vinsent he also went to EPL and the first two seasons were horrible for him. Only this season he started to score and have a regular playing time. Stengs does not score that many and that is not his strength. His strength is a vision of the game and fantastic passes. This is his first full season and it would be good for him to stay one more season in AZ. However, due to his unique skills, I think he would succeed if he goes abroad to less physical league than EPL. I am afraid in EPL he will get injured very fast. With respect to Idrissi, this is his third season in AZ and prior to that he spent three seasons in Groningen. Despite his young age, he has progressed tremendously and in my view he is very ready to move on.
    Table 2. Wingers
    Talent Work Rate Efficiency Goal index Total
    Jahanbakhsh 4 5 5 4.0 18
    Stengs 5 3 3 2.1 13.1
    Idrissi 4 4 4 3.8 15.8

    Finally, Koopmeiners and Wijndal. This is the first full season for Wijndal. He is a great player but based on experience of all AZ players who left the club after the first season, it will be very difficult for him to establish himself in the main selection of a team from the major leagues. Particularly, he wants to Real Madrid and I personally think he is not ready for the Spanish League. I think he will benefit from staying one more season in AZ. There is no much hype around Koopmeiners but he deserves more than anybody else the praise. This is his third season, he progressed tremendously within these three years and he will be a great fit for Bundesliga or Seria A. BTW, his scoring index is exactly as Stengs 2.1. Although most goals were scored from penalty spot. So, if I summarize the readiness of the players to move on I would rate Idrissi and Koopmeiners as READY, Stengs – somewhat READY, Wijndal – NOT READY, and Boadu – NOT READY.

    1. Thanks for all of this man! Great stuff. I saw the AZ – NAC game and if they would play this again AZ would win 6-3 I think. So many wastefulness in AZ this time around and the NAC goalie was really good.

      It was a sensational game!

      If Wijndal is only 9 Mio I think I would advise any club to pick him up. Idrissi’s goal was sensational by the way. Truly top class!! If ziyech scores like this, it will go across the globe and if C Ronaldo does it he wins the Ballon d’Or

      1. My pleasure, Jan. At this point, Idrissi has been the best player in AZ Alkmaar. His marketing is not at that level as that trio has and I think there are three reasons why: 1. he is not originally from AZ youth Academy and 2. his agent is not Mino Raiola. 3. He does not represent Netherlands anymore.

        1. I remember his situation. koeman overlooked this guy back then because he was behind in pecking order and never considered him as a special talent like what he did with Mazraoui and Ihattaren.

  5. I liked what I saw of Bakker vs Dijon. his performance will certainly have Tuchel thinking more now that Brenet is injured and kurzawa attracting interest from Arsenal.I said this before Bakker is long term project and his trajectory has lifted just after his first start.

    on a motivational note, I think him training and being around some of the very best players will tremendously boost his development and even if he PSG does off load him with other big names he will be taking alot with him to the next destination. wijndal, Bakker and Malacia should be next in line for NT. Juan Familia Castillo also needs to shift to next level if he wants to fast track his development.

  6. Can anyone tell me why Dutch players are always so cheap ? Ziyech for Only 40 million euros ????

    Lucky Chelsea if getting him , though I was expected him going to another club where he probably will get more chances such as spurs and Liverpool

    I think it will be a big impact and Ajax won’t be a me to find someone to replace him shortly

    Again , shame he isn’t oranje . Currently I still don’t think we have anyone better than him in the right wing position

    1. Is PSG playing with the 2nd team since they are already almost destined to win the league?
      Who is the original LB starter? Just curious why he pops up now.

      1. Juan bernat and kurzawa are usually the first choice or let say deputazing each other. Bernat is sidelined for sometime now. This has opened doors for Bakker to slot in behind kurzawa. With only 2 games he has nailed it in terms of future prospect for PSG.most likely he will drop out once bernat is back but then he has already caught the eye of tuchel with his deflected goal last week.

      1. I also see that Chiellini is fit again. He is back from injury. He replaced Bonucci in the second half.

        I think Sarri will start Chielini and Bonucci again.

        1. anybody watched spurs vs Villa. El ghazi vs Bergwijn. ratings:

          Anwar El Ghazi, 7

          That was more like it from Ghazi. Smith always wanted Villa’s winger to cut in and cause carnage from the middle. He did that, and to great effect, slicing Spurs open with a beauty of a ball to Guilbert in the first half while he picked up great positions in and around the edge of Spurs’ box, peppering long-range efforts at Lloris. Looked dangerous and made Tottenham think. Replaced by Trezeguet with 20 to go.

          Steven Bergwijn 7

          Struggled to get much of the ball in the first half until the final few minutes. First he had a powerful effort blocked in the box and then set off on the run which ended with the penalty. Embarked on another break early in the second half which was only denied by a last-gasp Guilbert block. Sent another effort at the keeper not long after before seeing a strike deflected over. Missed chances like others but he made an impact in a tough game. 7

          1. I saw the match. Agree; I thought both played well. I think an additional point to be made about Bergweijn is the hard work he puts in defensively and chasing loose and 50/50 balls. He has fit into the pace of the EPL nicely.

  7. So 4 friendlys confirmed before the euros. USMNT,Grecce,Wales and Spain. Worthy oponents imo and should give koeman plenty to think and take before the Ukraine game.

    With all the on going injuries what I would like to see koeman call up players who are in form at club level. The GK situation is a good example. Cillessen has gone Awol at valencia. Koeman hardly rotated GKs and with cillessen no where to be seen at valencia,he has a dilemma on his hands since no another GK has featured prominately compared to cillessen and plus zoet also has lost his spot at PSV.I long said this, the importance of rotation and whether four friendlys will be enough get a new gk up and running is anyone’s guess. Bizot,Bijlow and krul could come in contention but none have been proven at NT level. Krul is exception but still he has just made camoes which came under van gaal at wc 2014.

  8. Sam lammers also made a strong start vs ADO Haag after returning from injury.two big games coming up for PSV. Vitesse and then followed by feyenoord.if he continues with the same momentum I dont see any reason why he shouldn’t he in the euro squad. He is more clinical and overall better than luuka.

      1. Atalanta is a decent team. But losing 0-4 is really bad, isn’t it? I hope Koeman does monitor Dutch players in Atalanta. Hateboer might be a decent solution compared to Veltman and Dumfries. Dumfries had so much potential when coming to the scene but he seems not progressing well.

        Cillessen has been on the bench for like 2 months now. The goalkeeper situation is dire at this moment.

        1. Dumfries is turning out to be another van der weil. I think tete will get a call up this time and plus either of dumfries or karsdorp when fit.feyenoord is really doing good under adovcaat and by the end of season karsdorp could put up fight if no set back off course.

          Hateboer can only come in if koeman plans to go with 3-4-3 or with wingbacks.

          1. “Hateboer can only come in if koeman plans to go with 3-4-3 or with wingbacks.”

            What does this even mean?

          2. He is not a full back typo where you need to balance you game both offensively and defensuvely. Offensively he is really good and thats why wingback role suits him and plus he has been playing in that ever since he joined aralanta. Like conte is master of 3-5-2,Gasperini has built the Atalanta team around 3-4-3.

            When he switches to fullback, lets say in 4 men backline, his offensive strength will neutralized once he starts getting defensively sucked in. Typically when you playing as a wing back you dont have to worry as you are assured of coverage from the one extra CB

          3. Another way to look at it is through the workrate pespective as coverage area going forward,coming back and so forth. This is where his limitation exist.

          4. OK. Whatever. Your generalizations don’t make sense to me, but maybe you’re just a visionary and I’ve wasted decades watching Dutch football. My loss.

          5. Dumbfries is close to dumb…hateboer is like another average crap…Veltman is disaster waiting to happen with red card..
            We need to stick with feynoord right fullbacks karsdorp and other guy who benched karsdorp…thne its ki jana hoover….in worst case secnario TETE is the best RB..i mean call back Tete..
            LB is still Good with kongolo,Winjdal and Blind…with injury of annholt and williams…

  9. What’s up ? No one wants to talk a word about last night two games ?

    That was the worst Ajax I had watched for a long Time ago . I hope koeman realises that Babel is not the option for oranje , and if he is stubborn to keep using him It may cost us even the group stages

    I would try with Al Ghazi ,promes , bergwijn , stengs , who else have we got now upfront ? Danjuma as sub (only if he gets his form back )

    Back to the game , what annoys me is the whole Ajax team looked out of focus and ziyech’s heart has already gone to Chelsea ?!

    I can only hoping for a miracle now but I can expect any of the two Dutch clubs

    Anyone has watched the AZ game ? How did stengs and boadu played ? Hopefully they learned something from it

    1. Was hoping AZ forever would give an update for the AZ game.

      Getefe is currently sitting 3rd in la liga and that all you need to know. It was already predicted to be a tense affair.

      Watched the extended highlights for both games. No body surpassed expectation.

  10. De Jong and De Ligt both are substitute today. What’s going on? Sarri is obviously biased against De Ligt. De Ligt was having a streak of good game and suddenly he started Rugani and benchend De Ligt.

  11. I did not watch AZ-LASK, was at work. Based on media AZ played very compact game with a lot of pressure. Basically, exactly the same game as LASK play. AZ attack is currently out of form: Stengs is too passive and slow and Boadu as usually wasteful. Idrissi was more or less OK. Arne Slot understands that the situation with attack is not ideal that is why he puts too much emphasis on pressure. However, this requires a lot of stamina and energy. I am afraid coming Thursday will be the last European game this season. I will be very surprised if AZ pass LASK.

  12. Looking forward to Ajax – AZ next Sunday. Both teams are out of shape. Will be interesting game. I also think successful series of Feyenoord will come to the end soon. Last two games team from Rotterdam won but I have seen the elements of decline. Finally, PSV is getting better.

    1. I feel slot has extensively used the starting 11 and this could become a limiting factor in their performance or maybe it has given the incosistency that has been creeping in without any genuine cause. more quality on the bench could have given slot options to atleast shift the workload of the front three and still focus on the title race including europa. Something like what Ajax usually go around when utilizing huntelaar. If Im not wrong they used him effectively last season in eredivisie in the wake of CL. Unfortunately slot doesnt have that luxury and if AZ does progress in EL you can expect them to slip here and there dropping points.

  13. @Wilson, My priority is Eredivisie title and the sooner AZ exit Europa League the better. I understand that coefficients are at stake but AZ has gone far enough for their level.

  14. I watched Barca – Napoli yesterday. Besides the fact that Barca has turned into a terrible team to watch Frenkie doesn’t seem to be doing that well over there. I say both him and deLigt have regressed since their respective moves. Bad sign for NT.

  15. Stengs, Boadu, and Wijndal need to continue working on their development. Since winter break there has been a significant decline in their performance. Partially, it is because they are not at right physical condition and secondly, the hype that media created around them mentally affected them.
    But I am happy that AZ is out of that useless competition (Europa League). Now they can focus on Eredivisie and their goal is to keep second place, which I believe is quite a realistic achievement.

    1. Yea but why do you think the europa league is useless ?

      Don’t you think they can learn a lot from playing against these European Unknown but not weak teams ? I think it’s much more worth and incomparable to playing against teams such as swolle or VVV

      1. This is why you need a very good depth in the team especially if you wanna kill two birds with one stone. If you look at teams like Arsenal and Man united, they have effectively used the EL competition to develop their upcoming young talents and it is paying the dividends now that are making a big impact in the team, increasing the depth at the same time.

        1. That is true and AZ do not have that depth. When I said “useless” I meant it was useless for AZ. Even if they went through LASK, they would have lost next round. They need to focus on Eredivisie. Slot really needs to make changes. Based on what I have seen since the winter break, Boadu, Wijndal, and De Wit need to be sidelined and replaced by Druijf, Ouwejan, and Evjen, respectively. The first two are exhausted and do not perform even at 50 % level and Dani is simply not good playmaker.

  16. @ Yan,

    sorry Yan I left your comment without a response. El experience is fantastic for AZ development. However, AZ have had enough this year and it was right time to exit. We did not have enough class to fight the remaining clubs and that would have caused multiple injuries which is not worth it. With such a shallow bench, AZ can not afford to play on several fronts effectively.

  17. Just read the following:

    “However, in the 15 games since his international bow, Stengs has struggled to add to his impressive early season figures, contributing only one goal and one assist.”

    Amazing statistic. Probably a combination of him hitting a wall after such a fast start, as well as teams being able to see him enough to game plan for him. It supports AZ’s point about lack of depth, and the team playing on multiple fronts. After missing all of last season, and playing league, Europa League, and NT, he must be worn down. Some scheduled rests likely would have been good for him.

  18. Ryan Babel has been terrible for Ajax this far. Koeman needs to rethink if he is the player he wants to lead our offense in the upcoming Euro.

    Strootman has lost his starting place at Marseille and that’s another player that Ronald needs to take a look if he can offer something to our team or not.

    Cillessen is not playing therefore his starting role on the Dutch team should be a big question mark!!

    Interesting to see how De Ligts situation will unfold now that Chielini is back.

    In other news Robin Gosens of Atalanta should be given a chance. He’s been good for the Italian side 2 years straight and players in good form are just what we need.

    1. I think van annholt and Gosens are similar type of players. the only difference is Gosens plays in a more advance role at Atalanta compared to van annholt at Crystal palace who is more a full back.

      Sinkgraven also has become a regular for Leverkusan under Bosz and also could be a good option if Koeman opts for wing backs.

      Ryan Babel situation is not a suprise. it was already predicted.

  19. Zirkzee is the future man now , I think we can all forget about boadu or any strikers

    Watched him playing he looks the real deal. Calm mature energetic and looks always likely to score

    3 goals on 4 games for Bayern. Hope he keeps this up I think koeman got no excuse to ignore him

  20. Zirkzee certainly looks a real deal..actually he saw very little of the ball, but he looked always alert. His goal was very well taken, calm and composed with the defender very close to him.
    He could potentially sneak in the final squad for EC if he continues to improve over the next few games.

    Diff topic..could the EC be canceled because of the coronavirus…😬

    1. Chances are very low

      First of all there is only one case reported in Kuwait so far . Second , the coronavirus is more deadly in countries which are cold . In high temperature countries the virus is weak and are less deadly

      Of course you may still see some “ high temperatures countries “ having high figures such as Singapore or Iran . This is due to the people had no experience in handling this before

      Olympic s ( Tokyo ) though has a high chance of cancelling the Event

      Hopefully the Italian and premier league won’t be affected now ……

  21. Ajax – AZ 0:2

    Arne Slot prepared AZ for this game very well. Tactically, the team from Alkmaar was much better than Ajax. In fact, Ajax did not have any tactics at all. Arrogance has been always a characteristics of the team from Amsterdam but still if you play number two you need to play smart. If not wastfulness of Boadu and Stengs, the damage would have been much larger. Anyway, now I hope that AZ will not get euphoric and will not lose next home game. It happened several time to my team, hopefully they have learned from the previous mistakes.

    The race for the title gets very tight. All four teams, Ajax, AZ, Feyenoord and PSV have a chance.

    1. Arrogance did them against Tottenham last year. Ziyech is a talent, no doubt, but I just couldn’t stand his cockiness. I won’t miss him.

  22. I will say this now, Kluivert is detonating at Roma with all guns blazing. His simplicity as a plain winger is what is a standout in his quality.

    1. He was OK. Entire midfield had one task: to pressure AJax players. He and de Wit were tirelessly chasing Ajax players. I did not see a lot of constructive game from him but he is in good physical shape. Ajax players had ahrd time to pass him. Koopmeiners played as a central defender. Midstjo was the one who feeding with great passes attackers.

  23. Was suprised to see koeman at PSV- feyenoord match when you would have expected him to be at the ajax -AZ game. Most likely its the fullbacks that he must have come to watch. Karsdorp vs dumfries plus malacia and haps who was on the wings.dumfries performances for NT has come under scrunity and maybe koeman is trying to keep the doors open for others. By the way neither Dumfries or karsdorp impressed in the game.

    Gakpo would the only player who must have imptessed him.

  24. Corona is tightening the hands on humanity..i see furthur worst scenario for that..ANOTHER COMMUNIST GIFT TO WORLD..corona gift by chine usa is heading for election and Dimwits wants to bring socialism to USA.if they win usa will be destrpyed like california,baltimoere (usual dimwits states)etc…The world is heading towards endtimes…Too much arrogance and rebeillion against mighty God of Isreal..

  25. Frenkie was disappointing again in el classico yesterday. Slow in attack, back passes, playing with his back. The only time he really sprung forward (2nd half) he created a golden chance for Messi which he missed. The rest was to be forgotten.

  26. I said this, his tendency to play on the left where he was so fluent for both ajax and NT has becoming stumbling block at Barcelona. Remember in NT or even at Ajax, neither had a defensive/CM like Busquets and there was no way he was going to bench him. When arthur came back from injury it just built up more comprtition with vidal and rakitic who are multi functional players compared to frenkie when rotated is out of ideas. I think barcelona played 4-4-2 vs Madrid and Frenkie was on the left wing.

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