Ajax [Play]

Ajax [Play]

Ajax is a play written by the 5th-century BCE Greek poet and dramatist Sophocles. Of his surviving plays, the best-known is Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) - part of a trilogy on the tragic king along with Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus. The exact date when Ajax was produced is unknown, but most classicists believe it was probably written early in his career.

The play centers on a character from Homer's Iliad - Ajax. In the final year of the battle between Athens and Troy, the greatest of the Greek warriors Achilles has been killed by the Trojan prince Paris. Odysseus and Ajax - also known as Greater Ajax - battle the Trojans to retrieve Achilles' body. Afterwards, an uncertainty arises over who is to receive the fallen warrior's armor. The ultimate decision comes down to a question of pride, and Odysseus is eventually awarded the prize. Ajax is incensed and goes mad, primarily due to the interference of the goddess Athena. Thinking they were his fellow Greeks, Ajax kills all of the cattle and sheep captured from the Trojans. When he regains his senses, he is devastated and commits suicide. A debate over his proper burial brings Odysseus to defend his friend's honor.


Sophocles (c. 496 BCE - c. 406 BCE) was born to a wealthy family in the suburb of Colonus outside the city of Athens. His long life coincides with a great period of Athenian grandeur. Besides being a tragedian, he was extremely active in Athenian public life, serving as a treasurer in 443-42 BCE and a general with the statesman Pericles in 441- 40 BCE. When he was in his eighties, he was named a member of the group of special magistrates assigned to the dubious task of organizing both financial and domestic recovery in 412-11 BCE after the disastrous Athenian defeat at Syracuse. He had two sons by his wife and one by his mistress. Two of them would eventually become playwrights. Of his 20 victories in play completion, 18 were at the Dionysia. Only two production dates of his plays are known: Philoctetus in 409 BCE and Oedipus at Colonus in 401 BCE.

Although active in Athenian politics, his plays rarely contain any references to current events or issues - something that makes the dating of his plays difficult. Classicist Edith Hamilton in her The Greek Way wrote that he was a passionless, detached observer of life. She thought the beauty of his plays was in their simple, lucid, and reasonable structure. He was the embodiment of what we know to be Greek. She wrote that "… all definitions of the Greek spirit and Greek art are first of all definitions of his spirit and his art. He has imposed himself upon the world as the quintessential Greek, and the qualities pre-eminently his are ascribed to all the rest" (198-199). Moses Hadas in his Greek Drama said that Sophocles represented humans as they should be while Euripides saw them as they were. Editor David Grene in his translation of Oedipus the King said that his plays had tightly controlled plots with complex dialogue, character contrasts, an interweaving of spoken and musical elements, and the fluidity of verbal expression.


Odysseus makes a case for his one-time friend pointing out that Ajax was a great warrior & deserves an honorable burial.

The play begins with the Greek warrior alone in his tent, surrounded by the bloody corpses of dead sheep and cattle. He is ranting, bemoaning his plight. Outside the tent, the Greek hero Odysseus and the goddess Athena are speaking. Soon, Ajax exits the tent and addresses the goddess. Through a series of flashbacks, one learns that Ajax and Odysseus had fought the Trojans to retrieve the armor of the fallen hero Achilles. The question then became: who would be honored to receive the armor? The Greek commanders Agamemnon and his brother Menelaus decided it should go to Odysseus. Ajax went mad. This uncontrollable madness was due in part to Athena's meddling. The now insane Ajax, thinking he was killing the Greek commanders, slew, instead, the captured Trojan sheep and cattle. Having recovered his sanity and realizing his mistake, he is a threat not only to himself but also to others. His wife, Tecmessa, is worried about his safety as well as her own and that of their son.

Ajax's brother, Teucer, arrives hoping to keep Ajax in his tent and safe. Despite everyone's concern, Ajax escapes and commits suicide by falling on his sword. Now, another question presents itself: should he receive an honorable burial. Teucer and Agamemnon argue. Along with Menelaus, Agamemnon declares that Ajax acted alone and in self-interest and so his body should be left exposed to the elements and scavengers. Odysseus enters the conversation and makes a case for his one-time friend pointing out that Ajax was a great warrior and deserves an honorable burial. Reluctantly, Agamemnon gives in.

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Cast of Characters

Among the short list of characters are:

  • Athena
  • Odysseus
  • Ajax
  • Tecmessa
  • Messenger
  • Menelaus
  • Agamemnon
  • Teucer
  • Eurysaces
  • a chorus of sailors

The Play

Outside the fallen city of Troy, Odysseus and the goddess Athena meet beside the tent of the crazed Greek warrior Ajax. She chastises the Greek commander Odysseus: "I'm always spying you on the prowl, Odysseus, seizing the chance to strike a blow at your foes" (74). Odysseus agrees; he has been tracking Ajax all night. Ajax had committed "the most astounding act" (74). The plundered sheep and cattle have been destroyed, slaughtered. He is pleased to see her and says: "It's you who have always guided me in the past and will guide me now" (75). Athena tells him that she is there to help, for the slaughter was truly the work of Ajax. She adds that it was the loss of Achilles' armor that drove him to the carnage; he believed it was the blood of the Greeks, in particular, Odysseus himself. However, it was Athena who had stopped him from truly killing Menelaus and Agamemnon as he stood outside their tent.

I threw a cloud of delusion over his eyes and so precluded his fevered joy side-tracking him on to the flocks and the undivided spoil of jumbled cattle the men were guarding. (76)

Despite the wishes of Odysseus, Athena called to Ajax to come out of his tent, darkening his eyes to avoid seeing his enemy, Odysseus. The still delusional Ajax greeted the goddess and promised to deck her temple with golden spoils. He proceeds to relay his story of how he turned his hands on the sons of Atreus. He tells her Odysseus was inside his tent in chains where he shall be lashed to death. After asking her to stand by his side, Ajax then leaves Athena and reenters his tent. The goddess and Odysseus part ways. As Odysseus takes leave of the goddess, he tells how he has pity for Ajax and is concerned for him.

After Athena and Odysseus leave, Tecmessa, Ajax's Trojan wife, enters from the tent. Speaking to the chorus (sailors of Ajax), she says:

…it was madness that seized our glorious Ajax and struck him with ruinous shame in the night. You can see him there, the sacrificed victims, butchered inside his tent. (82)

However, she reveals that he is no longer mad but now suffers a new agony.

The return to his senses has brought new pain, as the vision of ruin that's self-inflicted when no one's with you to share the blame, strains tight on the cable of torment. (84)

As he slowly regained his reason, he looked around "at the shambles inside the hut he pummeled his head and howled, then sank to the ground, a wreck amid the wreckage of slaughtered sheep …" (85). He was overwhelmed by remorse, even threatening her. As he gradually regained his sanity, he called for his son Eurysaces and his brother Teucer. Ajax bemoaned his plight and how he had flaunted his power over harmless beasts. However, the madness did not diminish hatred for the Greek commanders. He wished he could kill Odysseus, the sons of Atreus and then die himself. He speaks how if Achilles were alive and rewarded the prize of his armor it would be he, Ajax, who would receive it. However, the award went to an outright scoundrel. He speaks to his comrades who, he believes, remain loyal to him now that his mind had become unhinged. As he was about to kill Agamemnon and his brother, Athena struck him down. Now, what is to become of him? Upon a second request to see his son, the boy arrives with an attendant. Ajax tells the boy to cherish life and bring her mother joy. As the boy is ushered away, Tecmessa fears for her husband's life.

Later, Ajax exits his tent, carrying his sword. He slowly walks away, fearing for the life of his wife and son if he were to die. He hopes to go to the shore and wash away the stains and escape Athena's wrath. He tells himself that he will go and bury his sword and prays that Hades should guard it. After Ajax leaves his troubled wife, a messenger arrives at the tent. He is informed that Ajax has regained his senses and wishes to make peace with the gods. The messenger announces that Teucer has returned to camp. He has been told by the prophet Calchas to keep Ajax in his tent "if he wished to see his brother alive again" (100). Calchas spoke of the anger of the gods because Ajax had boasted that he did not need the gods' help to win a victory. However, Athena's anger would last only one more day. Ajax could still be saved. Tecmessa appears and is told of the prophecy. Fearfully, she informs them that Ajax is gone. Away from the tent, Ajax speaks aloud. While holding his sword, he prays to Zeus:

I beg of you Zeus and I also call on Hermes, guide of the dead beneath the earth, to put me fast to sleep when with a swift, unwrithing leap I've run my body through. (103)

He prays that the Furies destroy the sons of Atreus and spare not a single life in the whole Greek army. He then asks for death.

The scene changes. Tecmessa stands outside the tent and addresses the chorus. Her life is destroyed. Ajax lies in front of her, bleeding. She explains that he had fallen on his sword, but now she laments for her own future - what is become of her and her son? As Teucer enters he is told that before Ajax died he asked that his brother care for his son. Teucer grieves for his brother.

While Ajax used this sword which was Hector's gift to him in the fatal fall that he now destroyed him too, I, then, should say the gods contrived his death as they contrive all else for mankind. (110)

Menelaus enters and orders them to leave Ajax's body alone. The question at hand is whether or not Ajax is entitled to be buried honorably or left to the scavengers. He tells Teucer that when the Greeks arrived at Troy he believed Ajax was a friend and ally, but he proved to be a worse foe than all the Trojans. If the gods had not stopped him, they would all be dead. Ajax was both arrogant and self-willed. Teucer reminds the Spartan king that he has no right to govern over Ajax or discipline him. He says he will bury Ajax. Feeling threatened by Menelaus, Teucer challenges him to don armor. Menelaus leaves, but shortly, Agamemnon enters.

Teucer reminds the Greek commander that Ajax had once rescued him in battle from the Trojan Hector. As they speak, Odysseus enters. Agamemnon tells him that Teucer has been throwing insults at both of them. Odysseus responds that he can forgive a man who engages in violent words when he has been insulted first. Agamemnon tells Odysseus that Teucer refuses to allow Ajax to go unburied and will bury Ajax against his wishes. Odysseus says that even though Ajax was his sworn enemy after the awarding of Achilles' armor, he still respected him.

When a good and brave man dies, it can't be right to injure him; however, much you hate him. (120)

Agamemnon replies that a good man would listen to his superiors, but Odysseus responds that while Ajax was his enemy, he was once noble and deserves to be buried. The Greek commander submits, commenting that Ajax still remains a hated foe. In the final scene, Teucer orders a grave to be dug.


An old adage states that "pride cometh before a fall." In Sophocles' Ajax, the play's central protagonist Ajax succumbs to a wounded pride when Achilles' armor is awarded to Odysseus. As with many of the plays written by Sophocles and his fellow tragedians, the audience is conscious of the madness that overwhelms Ajax. Ajax cannot bear his humiliation and decides to kill not only the commanders Agamemnon and Menelaus but his fellow Greeks as well. Luckily for them, Athena intervenes, and Ajax only kills the captured sheep and cattle. Upon regaining his senses, Ajax is disgraced and commits suicide.

Tragedy abounds throughout the play. Not only does one feel some compassion for Ajax and his loss of pride but also for his wife who must be concerned for the safety of her husband, her son, and herself. If Ajax dies - honorably or not - she will be sold into slavery. Neither Agamemnon nor Menelaus is viewed as either heroic or noble. They rationalize their dislike of Ajax - choosing to let his body be food for the scavengers - but saying he was self-serving and untrustworthy. Norman F. Cantor in his Antiquity believes Sophocles' Ajax best demonstrates the playwright's concept of tragedy. Upon losing the armor, Ajax's pride is ruined, and, after regaining his senses, the realization of his actions drives him to take his own life. Cantor views Odysseus as a wise and just hero. Despite his dislike of Ajax and regardless of his crimes, he believes the fallen hero deserves an honorable burial.

AFC Ajax

E ven outside the Netherlands, not many clubs can compete with the kind of history AFC Ajax have. With over 50 major domestic trophies and four European Cups, Ajax is the seventh most successful football club of the 20th century. They have also won the Cup Winners' Cup and the UEFA Cup, which makes them one of only four clubs to win all three major UEFA competitions.

Basic facts

Founded: 1900
Country: Netherlands
City: Amsterdam

Home grounds

“Het Veldje” (1893–1900)
Amsterdam-Noord (1900–1907)
Het Houten Stadion (1907–1934)
De Meer (1934–1996)
Olympisch Stadion (1934–1996)
Amsterdam ArenA (1996–)

Main trophies

Netherlands Football League Championship/Eredivisie: 34
KNVB Cup: 19
European Cup: 3
Champions League: 1
UEFA Cup: 1
European Cup Winners' Cup: 1

Netherlands Football League Championship: 1917–18, 1918–19, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1933–34, 1936–37, 1938–39, 1946–47
Eredivisie: 1956–57, 1959–60, 1965–66, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1989–90, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14
KNVB Cup: 1916–17, 1942–43, 1960–61, 1966–67, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1978–79, 1982–83, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1992–93, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2001–02, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2009–10
European Cup: 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73
UEFA Champions League: 1994–95
UEFA Cup: 1991–92
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1986–87

Prominent players

Cor van der Hart, Sjaak Swart, Velibor Vasović, Arie Haan, Johan Cruyff, Johan Neeskens, Johnny Rep, Frank Rijkaard, Jesper Olsen, Marco van Basten, Ronald Koeman, Dennis Bergkamp, Ronald de Boer, Stefan Pettersson, Frank de Boer, Edgar Davids, Michael Reiziger, Edwin van der Sar, Clarence Seedorf, Clarence Seedorf, Marc Overmars, Jari Litmanen, Nwankwo Kanu, Patrick Kluivert, Dani, Wesley Sneijder, Michael Laudrup, Jesper Grønkjær, Brian Laudrup, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Jaap Stam, Luis Suárez

Club records

Most games played: Sjaak Swart (603)
Top goalscorer: Piet van Reenen (273)

Ajax and Hector fought in single combat. Their fight was ended by the heralds. The two heroes then exchanged gifts, with Hector receiving a belt from Ajax and giving him a sword. It was with the belt of Ajax that Achilles dragged Hector.

When Achilles was killed, his armor was to be awarded to the next greatest Greek hero. Ajax thought it should go to him. Ajax went mad and tried to kill his comrades when the armor was awarded to Odysseus, instead. Athena intervened by making Ajax think cattle were his former allies. When he realized he had slaughtered the herd, he committed suicide as his only honorable end. Ajax used the sword Hector had given him to kill himself.

The story of the madness and disgraced burial of Ajax appears in the Little Iliad. See: "Ajax's Burial in Early Greek Epic," by Philip Holt The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 113, No. 3 (Autumn, 1992), pp. 319-331.


Scene I

The play opens with Athena telling Odysseus that Ajax slaughtered all the captured sheep and cows during the previous night because Odysseus was given the shield of Achilles, an honor Ajax felt he deserved instead. Athena explains that she cast a spell over Ajax so that he thought the animals were Greek warriors Ajax thought he was killing his fellow soldiers. Meanwhile, Ajax has recovered his wits and is shocked and ashamed at his actions.

The Chorus enters and underscores how low this great warrior has been brought by fate and the actions of the gods. Tecmessa, Ajax’s captive and the mother of his child, enters and relates the details surrounding Ajax’s attack on the sheep. She also tells of his profound grief and pain when he realized what he had done.

In a lengthy monologue, Ajax bemoans his family honor. He contends that he deserved the honor of Achilles’s arms. Instead, the prize unfairly went to Odysseus. Ajax’s grief derives not from his homicidal impulse to kill Agamemnon or Odysseus, but that Athena fooled him into killing sheep. Worse, he believes that the other warriors are laughing at him.

Ajax speaks of suicide, and Tecmessa argues that he must not kill himself. She maintains that she needs him and so does his son. She also points to his mother’s grief and his father’s love, and Ajax responds by asking that his son be brought to him.

After Ajax and Tecmessa leave the stage, a soldier enters and describes the arrival of Ajax’s brother, Teucer. He has entered the camp to the jeers and insults of soldiers who call him the brother of a madman. He was also warned by a prophet to keep Ajax inside all day, but he has arrived too late to prevent Ajax from leaving. The prophet has predicted that Athena’s rage will be spent by nightfall, and that unless Ajax is kept inside for the day, he will die.

The prophet asserts that humans aim too high and that men should not look to be as great as the gods. This was Ajax’s mistake, and this is why the gods are punishing him. The scene ends with Tecmessa asking that everyone go in search of Ajax and save him.

Scene II

Ajax enters, alone. He puts his sword in the sand, hilt first, and asks Zeus to send messengers to inform his brother of his death. Ajax is afraid that his enemies will learn of his death first and his body will be desecrated. Ajax also asks that his death be avenged, and after expressing concern for his mother and father, Ajax falls upon his sword and commits suicide.

The Chorus enters, looking for Ajax, but Tecmessa finds him and emits a loud wailing sound of grief. The Chorus and Tecmessa lament for Ajax’s life, now lost. Teucer enters and he, too, is grief-stricken at his brother’s death. Teucer orders that his nephew be brought so that he can be protected from Ajax’s enemies, who might seek to harm the child. Teucer expresses concern that their father will blame him for having allowed Ajax to die in such a manner.

Menelaus enters and orders that Ajax’s body be left to rot where it fell and that no honor be given to the warrior in death. Menelaus decrees that Ajax’s rotting body will serve as a lesson to any soldier who thinks to raise a hand against him. The Chorus warns that there must be respect for the dead, but Teucer interrupts in anger and reminds Menelaus that he had no authority over Ajax when he was alive and certainly not when he is dead. Teucer will bury his brother because the law of the gods demands it.

The argument between Teucer and Menelaus continues, with both men calling each other names and insulting one another. The conflict ends when Menelaus and his men leave. In a few moments, Tecmessa and her child enter for a final farewell with Ajax. Teucer leaves to dig a grave, but hurries back accompanied by Agamemnon. Agamemnon is angry and insults Teucer and Ajax.

The Chorus calls for compromise, but Teucer reminds Agamemnon of the times that Ajax saved his life and fought beside him in terrific battles. Teucer also reminds Agamemnon of the honorable lineage of Ajax’s family.

Odysseus enters, complaining that he could hear Menelaus and Agamemnon yelling across the camp. Acting as the voice of reason, Odysseus asserts that Ajax deserves the honor. Not to bury him would do serious dishonor to the gods. Agamemnon disagrees and argues with Odysseus that to bury Ajax would make Menelaus and Agamemnon appear weak.

Agamemnon finally agrees to a burial, but only out of friendship with Odysseus. Teucer thanks Odysseus for his help, but asks that the burial be left to family and Ajax’s soldiers Ajax would not have wanted Odysseus to touch his body. As the men begin to prepare the body for burial, the play ends.

A Data History of the European Cup: 1972, Ajax 2-0 Inter Milan

We continue our series on the history of the European Cup with a look at the 1972 final between Ajax and Inter Milan. Last week, we covered Real Madrid’s victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 over a decade on, much has changed.

Ajax are the competition holders following their success over Panathinaikos at Wembley in 1971, while Inter, two-time winners in the mid-1960s, are back in the tournament for the first time since their loss to Celtic in the final of 1967. Ajax’s 2-0 win here would be followed by a third consecutive triumph against Juventus in 1973.

The Ajax Revolution

This match immediately feels more akin to the modern game than the 1960 final did. The formations are familiar: a 4-3-3 for Ajax and a 4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1 for Inter. Ajax are using squad numbers. Passing completion rates are up, there are less long balls, longer spells of possession and more attempts at collective play.

The distribution of the two goalkeepers looks much more like that of their contemporary equivalents:

This Ajax side were the early prototype for the press and possess football of today. They regularly contested possession in opposition territory and when the ball was won, moved forward swiftly into shooting positions. The rhythm at which they played and their positional flexibility were unlike anything seen before, although it must be noted that Carlos Peucelle would later argue that River Plate’s La Máquina side of the 1940s were the first template for this style of play. There is some evidence that Rinus Michels, the Ajax coach who got the Total Football bandwagon rolling, was inspired by watching a Millonarios side that featured Adolfo Pedernera, the hub of that River team. It would, though, be fair to say that Ajax and the Dutch national team were its first proponents in a widely televised era.

Ajax’s press in this match isn’t quite as aggressive and chaotic as that of the Netherlands at the 1974 World Cup, but they are still quick to close down, and they also step up swiftly to force offsides. When they lose the ball, it doesn’t usually take them long to regain it. They established clear territorial dominance, particularly during a first half in which Inter were penned in. The difference in the locations in which the two teams retrieved possession is striking:

As are the match-long heatmaps of their pressure locations:

Overall, Ajax dominated in terms of territory, possession, shots and expected goals (xG). Two goals from Johan Cruyff, the second a header from a left-wing corner, saw them to victory.

This Ajax team are largely thought of as an attacking one, but their approach was often just as, if not more effective in stifling their opponents. Their three consecutive European Cup triumphs in this era were all coupled with clean sheets. In this match, Inter were barely able to work the ball forward. When they did, it was usually thanks to the astute movement of Roberto Boninsegna off the front and into the channels.

But Boninsegna, Inter’s top scorer for seven consecutive seasons between 1969 and 1976, barely got a sniff at goal, and he and his teammates were only able to muster 0.42 xG from their 10 shots. Sandro Mazzola picked out a couple of nice passes in transition but was largely unable to influence things, partly due to the close attention of Johan Neeskens.

Mazzola and the other holdovers from the Grande Inter of the 1960s still weren’t all that old at the time of this match. Gianfranco Bedin was 26 Mazzola and Giacinto Facchetti, 29 and Jair da Costa, 31. Only Taricisio Burgnich, at 33, was obviously past his prime. Yet while their players might not have been, their style of play was certainly made to look so by a trailblazing Ajax side.

Long-Range Shots and Lots of Crosses

Where Ajax’s approach deviated from the modern game was in what happened once they got into the final third. Two of the key early takeaways from statistical analysis of football were that central shots closer to goal are far more valuable than wider and long-range efforts, and that crosses are generally a fairly inefficient means of creating chances.

Clearly neither team got the shots memo:

A shoot-on-sight policy particularly prevailed among the midfielders of Ajax:

Given their territorial dominance, Ajax really struggled to create good-quality chances from open play. Aside from Cruyff’s opener, none of their other 16 shots from open play were even 1-in-10 opportunities. There were even a couple of 1-in-100 swings. Indeed, that Cruyff goal, an easy finish after goalkeeper and defender collided to provide him with an open goal from an otherwise fairly harmless hanging cross, accounted for 58% of Ajax’s open-play xG.

That was also the only effort on goal to directly originate from one of the 29 crosses Ajax swung into the Inter penalty area. For comparison, the highest team average in last season’s Champions League was 14 the competition average, 7.84. Over half of their attempted box entries came from crosses, versus a competition average of 28% in 2018-19. Just two of the 15 deliveries from the right by Sjaak Swart and the ever-advancing full-back Wim Suurbier found their target.

This graphic of Ajax’s box entries shows how infrequently they moved the ball through the centre into the area. There was a cute early pass from Arie Haan and a couple of other incursions but not much given how much time they spent in the Inter half. Neither they nor Inter completed a throughball.

Johan Cruyff

Cruyff scored both of Ajax’s goals in this match, but it doesn’t act as a particularly good example of the idea we have of Cruyff as orchestrator of play. While he did drop back to receive in midfield at times, he attempted more individual actions than collective ones, and completed just 53% of his passes -- only two players, both for Inter, completed less. It was his supple changes of direction and neat burst of acceleration that stood out.

In amongst all of those Ajax shots, Cruyff only set up two, worth a paltry 0.05 xG. Three teammates moved the ball into the penalty area more often than he did. Where he did lead the team was in touches inside the area. Indeed, from this super small sample size of just a single match from a 20-year career he profiles as more of a mobile centre-forward than a playmaker masquerading as one.

Some Random Numbers and Observations

- the players who took part in this match were more ambidextrous than most. There were seven players within a 15% range of an even 50/50 split of passes between both feet. Inter’s Boninsegna had an exact split Cruyff was only three percentage points off. For comparison, there were only two players within that 15% range in the 1960 final and just one in 2019.
- the number of dribbles was slightly down from the 1960 final, but the figures of 47 attempted and 30 completed were both still well above those usually seen in the modern game.
- this match featured something we very rarely see these days: an indirect free-kick for obstruction inside the area.

Best 11 Ajax Players of All-Time

From the likes of Johan Cruyff to Frank Rijkaard, Ajax was an incubator of some of the world’s best talent. Let’s take at the list of some of the team’s top eleven players in the club’s history.

Marco van Basten

A prolific scorer in the Dutch league for four consecutive seasons, Marco van Basten netted 118 goals in 112 appearances. 37 of those goals came in the 1985-86 seasons when he earned the European Golden Boot. One of the most gifted strikers all-time, he scored the winning goal that won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1987.

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Frank Rijkaard

The versatile defensive midfielder spent 7.5 years with the club where he won five league titles and three KNVB Cups, Champions League and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1987. The Amsterdam native adopted the intelligent tactics of his Dutch teammates and became a complete footballer following in the footsteps of Johan Cruyff.

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Jari Litmanen

The Finnish attacking midfielder played 7 seasons with Ajax, where he scored a whopping 91 domestic goals. With Van Gaal at the helm, Litmanen achieved 3 consecutive Dutch championships and won the Champions League in 1995, becoming a top scored in the Champions League the following year with 9 strikes to his name.

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Johan Cruyff

Considered one of the best footballers ever, the dynamic attacker Johann Cruyff left a legacy of the total footballer both as a player and coach during his time at Ajax. He played 365 games with the Ajax side where he won 8 domestic championships and 3 European Cups. He also coached the team to two KNVB Cups and the Cup Winners’ Cup.

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Sjaak Swart

Known as ‘Mr Ajax’ , the homegrown winger played a total of nearly 600 matches for the club, making him the most capped Ajax player of all-time. In his first year, he helped the club to its first title along with the league crown. He’d win the European Cup three consecutive three times from 1971 – 1973 in one of the greatest teams in history.

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Frank De Boer

Technically gifted and an astute defender, Frank De Boer also played 328 games as a set-piece specialist. He helped the club expand its trophy case with five Eredivisie titles, one UEFA Champions League, two KNVB Cups, and one UEFA Cup.

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Ruud Krol

The Dutch legendary defender earned 339 caps at the club, a 12-year career that saw him clinch 8 Dutch league titles. Known as a tough tackler and tactician, Krol contributed to one of the greatest sides of all times that won the three European Championships of 1971, 1972, and 1973.

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Johan Neeskens

Donning the Ajax kit for 124 appearances over a 4-year spell with the club, Johan Neeskens was a box-to-box midfielder that helped usher in the total football that epitomized the Ajax side that won the three Championships between 1971 to 1973.

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Edwin Van Der Sar

A 9-year player at the club, Edwin Van Der Sar played an important part of the 94/95 run onto the Champions League crown. An imperious presence, he won four Dutch league titles, three Dutch Cups, a one-time UEFA Cup and Supercup winner, Van Der Per puts hits name down as one of the most successful goalies of all time.

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Wim Suurbier

A right back with the propensity to run forward at any moment’s notice, Wim helped propel the Ajax team that dominated Europe in the 70s with 3 consecutive European Cups. He played nearly 400 games in his 13-year career, also earning the Dutch Championship 7 times along with four Dutch Cup wins.

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Danny Blind

The central defender played 11 years with Ajax under the tutelage of Louis Van Gaal where he won 5 Eredivisie titles, 3 Dutch cups, a UEFA Cup, and a Champions League trophy in the 94/95 season. He also coached Ajax in the 2005 season, winning the KNVB Cup.

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The Death of Ajax

During the Trojan War, the Telamonian Ajax, or "Big" Ajax, was the bulwark of the Greek army. He was the largest of the Greeks, and often he fought next to his brother, the Oilean Ajax, or "Little" Ajax. In single combat, he battled Hector to a draw. Then, the two exchanged weapons. Hector gave him his sword, and Ajax his girdle. When Agamemnon sent an embassy to the sulking Achilles, Ajax was a member. During this time when the other great kings were hurt, Ajax continued to fight every day, holding off the Trojans as best he could.

When Achilles dies from an arrow shot by Paris, there is a huge battle for the corpse. Eventually, Odysseus and Ajax manage to carry it from the battle and back to the ships. Achilles is cremated, and his ashes are mixed with Patroclus'. As for Achilles' armor, made by Hephaestus himself, both Odysseus and Ajax claim it.

In order to prevent bloodshed, Odysseus proposes to let the other kings decide. Ajax agrees. He is certain that he will win, because he has fought so hard for so long, and he was closer to Achilles than Odysseus was.

When the two plead their cases before the judges, Odysseus is by far the better speaker. Ajax cannot match his eloquence. The armor then is awarded to Odysseus, and Ajax flees the camp in anger.

That night, outside the Greek camp, Ajax plans his revenge. He sneaks back into the camp, and begins to kill every Greek he sees. Athena has sent a madness upon him, however, and he is actually cutting down a herd of livestock. In the morning, he gloats over his victories, but eventually begins to realize what he has done. Completely disgraced, Ajax falls upon his own sword, which had been given to him by Hector when he was at the height of his glory.

After his death, Agamemnon and Menelaus refuse to allow Ajax to be buried. After Odysseus speaks on his behalf, however, the two relent. Later, when Odysseus visits the underworld in Book 11 of the Odyssey, Ajax, still angry in death, is the only Greek to refuse to speak to him.

Youth Academy

Ajax’s youth academy is world famous. The goal of Ajax is to form talented young players into top football players. Only the very best will reach the top after a difficult and often long road. Johan Cruijff, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard, Wim Kieft, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Kluivert are but a few of the international stars that have successfully completed the training at the youth academy.

At AFC Ajax, the training of top football players takes centre stage. That is why the youth academy is also known as the breeding ground of Dutch football. The further you get, the harder it becomes to maintain your place and to reach the ultimate objective - to play in the Amsterdam Arena. Only one or two players make it to the first team each year.

Ajax is partly dependant on players from its own youth academy. The youth teams are trained in exactly the same way as the first team en these boys are therefore already accustomed to Ajax’s style of play.

Central within the club is the style of play (4-3-3), training, behaviour and house rules. Ajax strives to keep the way of playing football recognisable attractive, offensive-minded, creative, fast, fair and preferably far away from the own goal on the opponents’ half.

Ajax has developed the so-called TIPS model, which stands for Technique, Insight, Personality and Speed. For each part there are ten criteria. P and S are generally innate properties, but I and S can always be developed further. The players own a special Ajax passport, in which all achievements are noted.

Please note
Ajax’s youth academy cannot accept individual external applications. Ajax only extend invitations after a long and deliberate scouting process. Applications for the Ajax youth academy by mail and/or email will not be considered.

Ajax [Play] - History

2020/21 Champions League Final

Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea

2020/21 Champions League Semi-Finals

Paris Saint Germain 1-2, 0-2 Manchester City (Manchester City win 4-1 on aggregate)
Real Madrid 1-1, 0-2 Chelsea (Chelsea win 3-1 on aggregate)

2020/21 Champions League Quarter-Finals

Manchester City 2-1, 2-1 Borussia Dortmund (Manchester City win 4-2 on aggregate)
Real Madrid 3-1, 0-0 Liverpool (Real Madrid win 3-1 on aggregate)
Bayern Munich 2-3, 1-0 Paris Saint Germain (3-3 on aggregate, Paris Saint Germain win on away goals)
Porto 0-2, 1-0 Chelsea (Chelsea win 2-1 on aggregate)

2020/21 Champions League 2nd Round

RB Leipzig 0-2, 0-2 Liverpool (Liverpool win 4-0 on aggregate)
Barcelona 1-4, 1-1 Paris Saint Germain (Paris Saint Germain win 5-2 on aggregate)
Porto 2-1, 2-3 Juventus (4-4 on aggregate, Porto win on away goals)
Sevilla 2-3, 2-2 Borussia Dortmund (Borussia Dortmund win 5-4 on aggregate)
Lazio 1-4, 1-2 Bayern Munich (Bayern Munich win 6-2 on aggregate)
Atletico Madrid 0-1, 0-2 Chelsea (Chelsea win 3-0 on aggregate)
Borussia Monch 0-2, 0-2 Manchester City (Manchester City win 4-0 on aggregate)
Atalanta 0-1, 1-3 Real Madrid (Real Madrid win 4-1 on aggregate)

2020/21 Champions League Group Stage

Salzburg 2-2 Lokomotiv Moscow
Bayern Munich 4-0 Atletico Madrid
Lokomotiv Moscow 1-2 Bayern Munich
Atletico Madrid 3-2 Salzburg
Lokomotiv Moscow 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Salzburg 2-6 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich 3-1 Salzburg
Atletico Madrid 0-0 Lokomotiv Moscow
Lokomotiv Moscow 1-3 Salzburg
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich 2-0 Lokomotiv Moscow
Salzburg 0-2 AtleticoMadrid

1. Bayern Munich 16pts
2. Atletico Madrid 9pts
3. Salzburg 4pts
4. Lokomotiv Moscow 3pts

Real Madrid 2-3 Shakhtar Donetsk
Internazionale 2-2 Borussia M
Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Internazionale
Borussia M 2-2 Real Madrid
Shakhtar Donetsk 0-6 Borussia M
Real Madrid 3-2 Internazionale
Borussia M 4-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Internazionale 0-2 Real Madrid
Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 Real Madrid
Borussia M 2-3 Internazionale
Internazionale 0-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Real Madrid 2-0 Borussia M

1. Real Madrid 10pts
2. Borussia Monchengladbach 8pts
3. Shakhtar Donetsk 8pts
4. Internazionale 6pts

Olympiacos 1-0 Marseille
Manchester City 3-1 Porto
Porto 2-0 Olympiacos
Marseille 0-3 Manchester City
Manchester City 3-0 Olympiacos
Porto 3-0 Marseille
Olympiacos 0-1 Manchester City
Marseille 0-2 Porto
Marseille 2-1 Olympiacos
Porto 0-0 Manchester City
Olympiacos 0-2 Porto
Manchester City 3-0 Marseille

1. Manchester City 16pts
2. Porto 13pts
3. Olympiacos 3pts
4. Marseille 3pts

Ajax 0-1 Liverpool
Midtjylland 0-4 Atalanta
Atalanta 2-2 Ajax
Liverpool 2-0 Midtjylland
Midtjylland 1-2 Ajax
Atalanta 0-5 Liverpool
Ajax 3-1 Midtjylland
Liverpool 0-2 Atalanta
Liverpool 1-0 Ajax
Atalanta 1-1 Midtjylland
Ajax 0-1 Atalanta
Midtjylland 1-1 Liverpool

1. Liverpool 13pts
2. Atalanta 11pts
3. Ajax 7pts
4. Midtjylland 2pts

Rennes 1-1 Krasnodar
Chelsea 0-0 Sevilla
Krasnodar 0-4 Chelsea
Sevilla 1-0 Rennes
Chelsea 3-0 Rennes
Sevilla 3-2 Krasnodar
Rennes 1-2 Chelsea
Krasnodar 1-2 Sevilla
Krasnodar 1-0 Rennes
Sevilla 0-4 Chelsea
Rennes 1-3 Sevilla
Chelsea 1-1 Krasnodar

1. Chelsea 14pts
2. Sevilla 13pts
3. Krasnodar 5pts
4. Rennes 1pts

Zenit 1-2 Club Brugge
Lazio 3-1 Borussia Dortmund
Club Brugge 1-1 Lazio
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Zenit
Zenit 1-1 Lazio
Club Brugge 0-3 Borussia Dortmund
Lazio 3-1 Zenit
Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Club Brugge
Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Lazio
Club Brugge 3-0 Zenit
Lazio 2-2 Club Brugge
Zenit 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

1. Borussia Dortmund 13pts
2. Lazio 10pts
3. Club Brugge 8pts
4. Zenit 1pts

Dynamo Kiev 0-2 Juventus
Barcelona 5-1 Ferencvaros
Ferencvaros 2-2 Dynamo Kiev
Juventus 0-2 Barcelona
Barcelona 2-1 Dynamo Kiev
Ferncvaros 1-4 Juventus
Dynamo Kiev 0-4 Barcelona
Juventus 2-1 Ferencvaros
Juventus 3-0 Dynamo Kiev
Ferencvaros 0-3 Barcelona
Dynamo Kiev 1-0 Ferencvaros
Barcelona 0-3 Juventus

1. Juventus 15pts
2. Barcelona 15pts
3. Dynamo Kiev 4pts
4. Ferencvaros 1pts

Paris Saint Germain 1-2 Manchester United
RB Leipzig 2-0 Istanbul Basaksehir
Istanbul Basaksehir 0-2 Paris Saint Germain
Manchester United 5-0 RB Leipzig
Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 Manchester United
RB Leipzig 2-1 Paris Saint Germain
Paris Saint Germain 1-0 RB Leipzig
Manchester United 4-1 Istanbul Basaksehir
Istanbul Basaksehir 3-4 RB Leipzig
Manchester United 1-3 Paris Saint Germain
Paris Saint Germain v Istanbul Basaksehir
RB Leipzig 3-2 Manchester United

2020/21 Champions League Play-Off Round

Slavia Prague 0-0, 1-4 Midtjylland (Midtjylland win 4-1 on aggregate)
Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-2, 1-3 Salzburg (Salzburg win 5-2 on aggregate)
Olympiacos 2-0, 0-0 Omonia Nicosia (Olympiacos win 2-0 on aggregate)
Molde 3-3, 0-0 Ferencvaros (3-3 on aggregate, Ferencvaros win on away goals)
Krasnodar 2-1, 2-1 PAOK (Krasnodar win 4-2 on aggregate)
Gent 1-2, 0-3 Dynamo Kiev (Dynamo Kiev win 5-1 on aggregate)

2020/21 Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round

PAOK 2-1 Benfica
Dynamo Kiev 2-0 AZ Alkmaar
Gent 2-1 Rapid Vienna
Ferencvaros 2-1 GNK Dinamo
Midtjylland 3-0 Young Boys Berne
Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 Dynamo Brest
Omonia Nicosia 1-1 Red Star Belgrade (Omonia Nicosia win 4-2 on penalties)
Qarabag 0-0 Molde (Molde win 6-5 on penalties)

2020/21 Champions League 2nd Qualifying Round

PAOK 3-1 Besiktas
AZ Alkmaar 3-1 Plzen
Lokomotiva Zagreb 0-4 Rapid Vienna
CFR Cluj 2-2 GNK Dinamo (GNK Dinamo win 5-4 on penalties)
Young Boys Berne 3-1 KI
Celtic 1-2 Ferencvaros
Suduva 0-3 Maccabi Tel Aviv
Legia Warsaw 0-2 Omonia Nicosia
Celje 1-2 Molde
Ludogorets 0-1 Midtjylland
Dynamo Brest 2-1 Sarajevo
Qarabag 2-1 Sheriff
Tirana 0-1 Red Star Belgrade

2020/21 Champions League 1st Qualifying Round

Ferencvaros 2-0 Djurgarden
Celtic 6-0 KR Reykjavik
Legia Warsaw 1-0 Linfield
Sheriff 2-0 Fola Esch
Connah's Quay Nomads 0-2 Sarajevo
Red Star Belgrade 5-0 Europa
Buducnost Podgorica 1-3 Ludogorets
Ararat Armenia 0-1 Omonia Nicosia
Floriana 0-2 CFR Cluj
Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-0 Riga
Qarabag 4-0 Sileks
Dinamo Tbilisi 0-2 Tirana
Dynamo Brest 6-3 Astana
Molde 5-0 KuPS
Flora Tallinn 1-1 Suduva (Suduva win 4-2 on penalties)
Celje 3-0 Dundalk
KI v Slovan Bratislava (Match Abandoned - KI bye)

2020/21 Champions League Preliminary Round - Nyon

Semi-Final 1 - Tre Fiori 0-2 Linfield
Semi-Final 2 - Drita 2-1 Inter Escaldes
Final - Linfield v Drita (Match abandoned - Linfield bye)


This is the number 1 European Cup history website. Click on any of the seasons below to read the full story of every European Cup season plus video of all the crucial games of the Champions League era

Origins - The people and events that led to the foundation of the European Cup

1955-56 Real Madrid - How the first European Champions were crowned
1956-57 Real Madrid - Real retain their title on home ground
1957-58 Real Madrid - A hat trick of wins overshadowed by Munich
1958-59 Real Madrid - Unstoppable Real ease to another title

Munich Air Disaster - How the dreams of the Busby Babes were decimated by tragedy

1959-60 Real Madrid - The Greatest Final ever?
1960-61 Benfica - Portugese Champions put new name on the trophy
1961-62 Benfica - Classic Final sees the trophy return to Lisbon
1962-63 Milan - Rivera inspires Italys' first win
1963-64 Internazionale - Victory for Herrera and 'catenaccio'
1964-65 Internazionale - The San Siro sees Inter win again
1965-66 Real Madrid - Return to the top for Real
1966-67 Celtic - Lions of Lisbon are the first British winners
1967-68 Manchester United - 10 years on from Munich, Busby wins emotional Wembley Final
1968-69 Milan - Another win for Milan but Ajax give glimpse of the future

1969-70 Feyenoord - Feyenoord usher in Dutch dominance
1970-71 Ajax - Cruyff inspires Ajax to glory
1971-72 Ajax - Attacking football sees Ajax win again
1972-73 Ajax - The hat trick is complete
1973-74 Bayern Munich - The only Final replay leads to German victory
1974-75 Bayern Munich - Bayern retain title after controversial Final
1975-76 Bayern Munich - Three in a row for Beckenbauer and Bayern
1976-77 Liverpool - The English Era begins
1977-78 Liverpool - Wembley sees Liverpool win again
1978-79 Nottingham Forest - Clough inspires Forest to victory

1979-80 Nottingham Forest - Forest shock Europe once again
1980-81 Liverpool - Real denied another title as Liverpool claim third title
1981-82 Aston Villa - Villa overcome Bayern as the English win again
1982-83 Hamburg - Hamburg overcome the Juve all stars
1983-84 Liverpool - Liverpools penalty heroics silence the Olympic Stadium
1984-85 Juventus - A season overshadowed by tragedy
1985-86 Steaua Bucharest - Famous Steaua win denies Barcelona their first title
1986-87 Porto - Trophy returns to Portugal as Porto dazzle in Vienna
1987-88 PSV Eindhoven - Shootout victory sees PSV lift the trophy
1988-89 Milan - Dutch trio inspire Milan to dominate Europe

Heysel Disaster - The story of the European Cups greatest tragedy

1989-90 Milan - Sacchi's stars win again
1990-91 Red Star Belgrade - Red Star shock Marseille and take the trophy to Yugoslavia
1991-92 Barcelona - Koeman free kick earns Barca their first title
1992-93 Marseille - Marseille win for France but controversy reigns
1993-94 Milan - Barca overwhelmed as Milan win classic final
1994-95 Ajax - Ajax kids rule Europe
1995-96 Juventus - The memory of Heysel finally banished as Juve triumph
1996-97 Borussia Dortmund - Dortmund shock Juve to claim their first win
1997-98 Real Madrid - The Galacticos take Real to the top once more
1998-99 Manchester United - Dramatic climax sees United claim a famous treble

Marseille Bribery Scandal - Why were Marseille not allowed to defend their title?

1999-00 Real Madrid - All Spanish final sees Real rule Europe again
2000-01 Bayern Munich - Valencia foiled again as Bayern return to the top
2001-02 Real Madrid - Zidanes brilliance lights up another win for Real
2002-03 Milan - Milan come out on top in all Italian final
2003-04 Porto - A year of surprises sees Porto win a second title
2004-05 Liverpool - The greatest comeback ever?
2005-06 Barcelona - Barca win again as late goals overcome Arsenal
2006-07 Milan - Milan get their revenge for Istanbul
2007-08 Manchester United - United win all English final after dramatic shootout
2008-09 Barcelona - United denied by Guardiolas brilliant Barcelona

2009-10 Internazionale - Mourinho inspires Inter to a third European title
2010-11 Barcelona - Messi and tiki taka too much for the rest of Europe
2011-12 Chelsea - Bayern beaten in their own stadium as Chelsea win first title
2012-13 Bayern Munich - Bayern gain revenge as they win all German final
2013-14 Real Madrid - Real comeback to defeat their Madrid rivals
2014-15 Barcelona - Barca beat Juve to win fifth title
2015-16 Real Madrid - Penalty shootout sees Real defeat Atletico again
2016-17 Real Madrid - The Champions League is finally retained as Real win again
2017-18 Real Madrid - Ronaldo and Real make it a hat trick
2018-19 Liverpool - All English Final sees Liverpool win once again

2019-20 Bayern Munich - Bayern win in a season like no other
2020-21 Chelsea - Second title for Chelsea as they shock English rivals

Champions League Match Dates

22.06.21 - Preliminary Round Semi-Finals
25.06.21 - Preliminary Round Final
06.07.21 - 1st Qualifying Round 1st Leg
13.07.21 - 1st Qualifying Round 2nd Leg
20.07.21 - 2nd Qualifying Round 1st Leg
27.07.21 - 2nd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg
03.08.21 - 3rd Qualifying Round 1st Leg
10.08.21 - 3rd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg
17.08.21 - Play-Off 1st Leg
25.08.21 - Play-Off 2nd Leg
14.09.21 - Group Stage Matchday 1
28.09.21 - Group Stage Matchday 2
19.10.21 - Group Stage Matchday 3
02.11.21 - Group Stage Matchday 4
23.11.21 - Group Stage Matchday 5
07.08.21 - Group Stage Matchday 6
15.02.22 - Round of 16 1st Leg
08.03.22 - Round of 16 2nd Leg
05.04.22 - Quarter-Final 1st Leg
12.04.22 - Quarter-Final 2nd Leg
26.04.21 - Semi-Final 1st Leg
03.05.22 - Semi-Final 2nd Leg
28.05.22 Final - St Petersburg

Interactive European Cup History

And you can contribute to the site too. Were you at a European Cup Final or one of the famous games in the competitions history? Tell us what it was really like - email your recollections to us and we will feature them here on the site.
Click here to send us your story.

You play finals to win! - Ajax boss Bosz wants to make history

Ajax head coach Peter Bosz has called on his youthful Ajax side to make history after they progressed to the Europa League final with a thrilling 5-4 aggregate victory over Lyon.

Kasper Dolberg's sublime strike midway through the first half at Parc Olympique Lyonnais ultimately proved decisive on Thursday, despite Lyon fighting back through Alexandre Lacazette's double and Rachid Ghezzal's late header.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages, but they held firm to claim a place in their first European final since 1996.

"Over the two legs, we deserve to go through," Bosz - whose side will face Manchester United in Stockholm on May 24 - told RTL.

"This is a super feeling. I am delighted that Manchester United will be the opponents, because that's really a great opposition.

"Now we'll see if we can really make history. A final play is nice, but finals you play to win."

Dolberg's effort looked to have all but secured Ajax's progression, but two goals in the space of 76 seconds from Lacazette put Lyon ahead at the interval.

Ajax substitute Donny van de Beek hit the woodwork in a frantic conclusion to the second-half - Ghezzal's header then deflecting in off the unfortunate Nick Viergever, who will miss the final after picking up a second yellow card late on.

And Bosz acknowledged that his side rode their luck in the contest.

"My heart was certainly beating!" Bosz continued. "We made it unnecessarily difficult, because we played great in the first half.

"Two minutes before the break, everything went wrong. I told the players, do not panic, but it was a different game in the second half. Because Lyon believed, it became difficult.

"Based on the two games though, we were better, although we still had some luck at the end. But it is done and it is very special."

Meanwhile, Lyon star Alexandre Lacazette was left to rue the injury concerns that kept him from starting the first leg, which Lyon lost 4-1.

"We weren't far away from qualifying. We weren't clinical enough in front of goal and not effective enough defensively," Lacazette said.

"It could have been different if I had been fit to start the first leg. It could have been better it could have been worse.

"Above all, we are disappointed with the way the first leg went, but we gave it absolutely everything for our supporters."

Players who have won the most Champions League trophies

Iconic Real Madrid left winger Paco Gento currently holds the record of the player in possession of the most UCL titles, having won six trophies during an illustrious 18 years at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Juventus ace Cristiano Ronaldo is tied in second place with the second-most number of UCL trophies at five, won during his time at Manchester United and Real Madrid. He joins the likes of AC Milan legends Alessandro Costacurta, Paolo Maldini and Clarence Seedorf as well as other Los Blancos giants in Hector Rial and Marquitos.

Real Madrid players dominate this list – which is understandable, as the club have won the most UCL titles. The likes of Daniel Cavajal, Isco, Luka Modric, Raphael Varane and Marcelo are on four Champions League trophies apiece while Barcelona stars Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta also have four each.

Liverpool heroes from the 1980s in Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Alan Hansen all have three Champions League medals to their name.

Player Number of CL titles* Clubs
Paco Gento 6 Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo 5 Man Utd, Real Madrid
Alessandro Costacurta 5 AC Milan
Paolo Maldini 5 AC Milan
Hector Rial 5 Real Madrid
Marquitos 5 Real Madrid
Lesmes II 5 Real Madrid
Enrique Mateos 5 Real Madrid
Alfredo di Stefano 5 Real Madrid
Jose Maria Zarraga 5 Real Madrid
Clarence Seedorf** 4 Ajax, Real Madrid, AC Milan
Casemiro 4 Real Madrid
Gareth Bale 4 Real Madrid
Nacho 4 Real Madrid
Daniel Carvajal 4 Real Madrid
Isco 4 Real Madrid
Luka Modric 4 Real Madrid
Marcelo 4 Real Madrid
Raphael Varane 4 Real Madrid
Karim Benzema 4 Real Madrid
Sergio Ramos 4 Real Madrid
Toni Kroos 4 Real Madrid
Gerard Pique 4 Man Utd, Barcelona
Andres Iniesta 4 Barcelona
Xavi 4 Barcelona
Lionel Messi 4 Barcelona
Joseito 4 Real Madrid
Phil Neal 4 Liverpool
Jose Santamaría 4 Real Madrid
Juan Santisteban 4 Real Madrid
Juanito Alonso 4 Real Madrid
Samuel Eto'o 4 Barcelona, Inter, Real Madrid
Kiko Casilla 3 Real Madrid
Mateo Kovacic 3 Real Madrid
Keylor Navas 3 Real Madrid
Lucas Vazquez 3 Real Madrid
Pepe 3 Real Madrid
Dani Alves 3 Barcelona
Sergio Busquets 3 Barcelona
Pedro 3 Barcelona
Iker Casillas 3 Real Madrid
Victor Valdes 3 Barcelona
Carles Puyol 3 Barcelona
Fernando Redondo 3 AC Milan, Real Madrid
Guti 3 Real Madrid
Fernando Morientes 3 Real Madrid
Roberto Carlos 3 Real Madrid
Savio 3 Real Madrid
Aitor Karanka 3 Real Madrid
Fernando Hierro 3 Real Madrid
Raul 3 Real Madrid
Frank Rijkaard 3 Ajax, AC Milan
Franco Baresi 3 AC Milan
Filippo Galli 3 AC Milan
Roberto Donadoni 3 AC Milan
Demetrio Albertini 3 AC Milan
Mauro Tassotti 3 AC Milan
Alan Hansen 3 Liverpool
Kenny Dalglish 3 Liverpool
Graeme Souness 3 Liverpool
Steve Heighway 3 Liverpool
Ray Clemence 3 Liverpool
David Johnson 3 Liverpool
Ray Kennedy 3 Liverpool
Phil Thompson 3 Liverpool
David Fairclough 3 Liverpool
Jimmy Case 3 Liverpool
Terry McDermott 3 Liverpool
Gerd Muller 3 Bayern Munich
Rainer Zobel 3 Bayern Munich
Hans-Josef Kapellmann 3 Bayern Munich
Franz Roth 3 Bayern Munich
Franz Beckenbauer 3 Bayern Munich
Conny Torstensson 3 Bayern Munich
Sepp Maier 3 Bayern Munich
Wim Suurbier 3 Ajax
Sjak Swart 3 Ajax
Johan Neeskens 3 Ajax
Gerrie Muhren 3 Ajax
Piet Keizer 3 Ajax
Johan Cruyff 3 Ajax
Arie Hann 3 Ajax
Ruud Krol 3 Ajax
Horst Blankenburg 3 Ajax
Barry Hulshoff 3 Ajax
Heinz Stuy 3 Ajax
Ferenc Puskas 3 Real Madrid
Rogelio Dominguez 3 Real Madrid
Raymond Kopa 3 Real Madrid
Miguel Munoz 3 Real Madrid
Ramon Marsal 3 Real Madrid
Atienza II 3 Real Madrid

*Only lists players who have won more than two Champions League titles.

**Seedorf featured in the first half of Real Madrid's successful 1999-2000 UCL campaign before leaving for Inter, but UEFA considers him to only have 4 medals.

Watch the video: Request: powder play with Ajax only (October 2021).