Juventus-Ajax: 11 players that characterised the history of this fixture
For two years he was our opponent. First, in the 1996 final in Rome then and in the semi-final during the following season. In 1999 he arrived at Juve and for the first time the club had a goalkeeper as a foreigner. Edwin played for Ajax since he was 20 years old where he innovated his role. Not just a goalkeeper, but as a commander of the defensive department.
Juve first met Grygera in a double confrontation with Ajax in the Champions League, in 2004. Zdenek was 23 years old and a defender who employed himself in different positions even if he expressed himself preferably on the right. Who knows him very well is his compatriot, Pavel Nedved. Who, with the Czech Republic national team participated in the 2004 European Championships in Portugal. He was a Bianconero since 2007, playing 114 games.
Ruud Krol embodied the ability to perform multiple functions within the defensive department during his spell with Ajax in the 70s. He began his career as a left-back while playing preferably with his other foot. Then, he moved to the centre-back role, becoming a a charismatic defender with exceptional ability. Between 1973 and 1978 Juve faced him five times.
We first met the Belgian defender in a 2010 Europa League duel with Ajax in 2010. Fast forward 8 years and we meet him again, this time with Tottenham in the Champions League. On both occasions we managed to get the better of Vertonghen in which were two great duels.
Edgar Davids against Angelo Peruzzi: thus begins the series of penalties in the Champions League final in Rome with the Juve goalkeeper getting the better. Two years later, Juve buys him from Milan and Davids becomes an indispensable player, making the public fall in love with his competitive charge and his technical level rarely seen on a football field.
We cannot talk about Juve-Ajax without mentioning Jugovic. It's his penalty kick that gave us the coveted Champions League title. It was a penalty kick that we’ll not be forgetting for a very long time. That moment of lifting the cup will go down in the memories of Juventus fans for a very long time.
The Ajax midfielder won 3 Champions Leagues in a row. He played in the final in Belgrade in 1973 against Juventus and two years later, he played us twice in the in the UEFA Cup as the bianconeri managed to eliminate Ajax. In August 1973, Ajax and Juve faced each other in a friendly and the Dutch won 2-0. The opening goal was that of Haan. Five years later, Dino Zoff will once again be beaten by the Dutch midfielder at the World Cup in Argentina: it will be the most famous goal scored by the Bomber, a nickname that describes his wonderful strike.
Let’s remember of the match in 1997. In the 4-1 home leg, Zizou drove the Ajax defence crazy. At 2-1, the Frenchman gave Amoruso a ball to push into the net with an empty goal. Then at 3-1, Zidane scores the winning goal in a brilliant solo effort. With a feint, he sends the goalkeeper and defender to the ground… one of the most beautiful goals of his career.
If Juve-Ajax is a history of penalties, it is not just for the outcome of the final in Rome. The 1978 quarter-finals of the European Cup were decided from the spot after the two matches ended 1-1. Causio marks the first leg by scoring a penalty, giving Juve clear path to the semis.
In the Rome final, he entered the field with 13 minutes left in the match and was the penalty taker before Jugovic. He beat Van der Sar with confidence. Three months later, the two met again in Spain in the Teresa Herrera Trophy competition: Juventus won 6-0 and Padovano scored the first 3 goals.
Ravanelli scored the opening goal in the famous Juventus-Ajax Champions League final after 13 minutes: overtaking the goalkeeper with a touch, managing to score from a tight angle. The match still had many episodes but the memory of Ravanelli's exploit remains as one of the iconic moments of the evening, together with the rigor of Jugovic and the raising of the cup.