Who is the greatest Ajax player of all time? It is so easy to tell, but then I will tell you in a twinkle of an eye.
If you take a sec at Ajax football club, you will realize that this club is rich in history, but let me tell you more.
Ajax is the seventh most successful European club of the 20th century by the IFFHS, and one of the few teams allowed to keep the European Cup and wear a multiple-winner badge, having won it consecutively from 1971 to 1973.
In 1972, they became the only team in the Portuguese League to win the Dutch Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, and the European Cup in the same season.
Their last international trophies were the 1995 Intercontinental Cup and the 1995 Champions League.
They are among the five clubs to have won all three major UEFA club competitions, along with Juventus, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Manchester United.
Some players have worked hard on the pitch for Ajax to be among the best today and their names will forever be in the club’s history
These players are mostly famous for their time at Ajax.
However, In this post, I will be rating these players based on goals scored, and the number of games played for Ajax football club.
Plus, you will learn about their famous performance.
So, who is the greatest Ajax player of all time? Here are the;
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Top 10 Ajax Best Players Of All Time
- Frank de Boer
- Piet van Reenen
- Ruud Krol
- Danny Blind
- Johan Cruyff
- Cees Groot
- Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
- Barry Hulshoff
- Piet Keizer
- Gerrit Keizer
Let’s get it.
1. Frank de Boer
- Appearance – 338
- Goal – 30
- Position – Defender
Franciscus de Boer is a Dutch football manager and former center-back, and he is regarded as one of Ajax’s greatest players of all time.
He is currently the head coach of Al Jazira in the UAE Pro League.
De Boer had a successful playing career with Ajax, where he won lots of domestic and European titles, including five Eredivisie titles, two KNVB Cups, three Super Cups, one UEFA Super Cup, one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Champions League, and one Intercontinental Cup.
He played in 328 matches scoring 30 goals from 1988 to 1998.
Also played for Barcelona, winning the La Liga title in 1998-99.
De Boer represented the Netherlands national team, recording 112 caps, and captaining the team in the semi-finals of the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000.
After retiring as a player, De Boer went into coaching.
He started with Ajax’s youth team and worked as an assistant to Bert van Marwijk with the Netherlands national team.
In 2010, De Boer became the manager of Ajax, leading them to an Eredivisie title in his first season and winning four consecutive league titles.
He had short managerial spells with Internazionale, Crystal Palace, and Atlanta United before becoming the head coach of the Netherlands national team in 2020.
However, he left the position in 2021 following a disappointing Euro 2020 campaign.
2. Piet van Reenen
- Appearance – 177
- Goal – 214
- Position – Forward
Piet van Reenen was a prolific Dutch footballer who played as a center forward for Ajax and is considered the club’s all-time top goal scorer.
From 1929 to 1943, he scored an impressive 278 goals in 240 matches.
Van Reenen held the title of Ajax’s top goal scorer for nine consecutive seasons, from 1929-30 to 1937-38.
Before joining Ajax, Van Reenen started his football career at UVV Utrecht, where he announced his clinical finishing by netting 30 goals in 37 games.
His performances caught the attention of Ajax, and he made his debut for the club on September 15, 1929, against DFC.
He continued to excel throughout his tenure with Ajax, consistently finding the back of the net.
Van Reenen became the first Dutch player to surpass the milestone of 300 league goals at the highest level.
Despite initially retiring after the 1939-1940 season, Van Reenen occasionally returned to help Ajax in times of need.
However, he eventually retired from professional football at the age of 33, but His goal-scoring record will forever be remembered as one of the greatest players in the club’s history.
3. Ruud Krol
- Appearance – 339
- Goal – 23
- Position – Defender
Rudolf Krol is a legendary Dutch footballer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time.
He played for his hometown club, Ajax, for the majority of his career and went on to become a coach after retiring from playing.
Krol’s versatility helped him in different positions across the backline, including as a sweeper and left-back, as well as in midfield as a defensive midfielder.
He was known for his passing ability with both feet, tactical intelligence, and the ability to initiate attacking plays from defensive positions.
At Ajax, Krol began his career under the guidance of manager Rinus Michels.
After initially struggling for playing time, he became a regular player following the departure of left-back Theo van Duivenbode in 1969.
Krol was crucial to Ajax’s success in the UEFA European Cup, featuring in the finals of 1972 and 1973.
Despite injuries and the departures of other key players, Krol remained loyal to Ajax and became the team’s captain from 1974 until 1980.
However, he made 339 appearances and scored 23 goals.
After leaving Ajax, Krol joined the Vancouver Whitecaps in the North American Soccer League for one season before moving to S.S.C. Napoli, where he spent four seasons.
4. Danny Blind
- Appearance – 372
- Goal – 27
- Position – Defender
Dirk Franciscus is a Dutch former football player and coach.
He enjoyed a successful career as a defender, playing for Sparta Rotterdam and Ajax, as well as the Netherlands national team.
Blind is considered one of the best players in Ajax’s history as he impressed in their triumphs, winning all three major UEFA club competitions.
Blind began his professional journey with Sparta Rotterdam in 1979 before joining Ajax in 1986 under the guidance of manager Johan Cruyff.
His signing was met with skepticism from Ajax star Marco van Basten, who questioned the decision to bring in an unknown defensive player from a smaller club.
However, Blind quickly proved his worth, winning an impressive array of trophies with Ajax.
He triumphed in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1987, the UEFA Cup in 1992, and the UEFA Champions League in 1995.
Additionally, he secured the Intercontinental Cup in 1995, contributing a decisive penalty in the shootout.
5. Johan Cruyff
- Appearance – 276
- Goal – 204
- Position – Midfielder
Johan Cruyff was a Dutch football player and manager who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
He won the Ballon d’Or award three times and played a pivotal role in popularizing the football philosophy known as Total Football.
Cruyff’s impact on the game extended beyond his playing career, as he went on to become one of the most influential figures in modern football.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dutch football experienced a transformation, with Cruyff at the forefront of this revolution.
He led the Netherlands national team to the final of the 1974 FIFA World Cup, winning the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.
However, he refused to participate in the 1978 World Cup due to a kidnapping attempt on his family.
At the club level, Cruyff achieved great success.
He began his career at Ajax, where he won numerous domestic and international titles, including eight Eredivisie titles, three European Cups, and one Intercontinental Cup.
His contributions to Ajax were staggering, scoring 257 goals and providing over 170 assists in 329 matches.
In 1973, Cruyff moved to Barcelona, where he helped the team win La Liga in his first season and won the Ballon d’Or once again.
Following his retirement as a player in 1984, Cruyff transitioned to management and achieved further success with both Ajax and Barcelona.
His impact on the game was recognized all over the world, as he was voted European Player of the Century and was included in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.
6. Cees Groot
- Appearance – 152
- Goal – 132
- Position – Forward
Cees Groot, a Dutch footballer, was known for his prowess as a striker during his career.
He played for Heerenveen, Stormvogels, Ajax, and Zaanstreek, and even had a stint with the Pittsburgh Phantoms.
Groot’s style of play was characterized by his physical strength and aerial ability, although he lacked finesse and technical skills.
However, his greatest strength lay in his goal-scoring ability.
During his first season with Ajax, Groot made an immediate impact, netting 29 goals for the Amsterdam-based club.
His younger brother Henk also had an outstanding season, scoring 38 goals.
Together, the Groot brothers accounted for over half of Ajax’s goals, and they finished the season as the league’s top two scorers, with Cees in first place and Henk in third.
Groot went on to become Ajax’s top scorer for three consecutive seasons from 1961 to 1964, tallying a total of more than 100 goals (132) for the club.
His clinical finishing secured him a place in the top 11 of Ajax’s all-time leading goal-scorers.
Despite lacking technical ability, Cees Groot’s ability to find the back of the net consistently made him a great asset for his teams.
His physicality and aerial dominance contributed to his goal-scoring records, establishing him as one of the best players in the history of Ajax and Dutch football.
7. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
- Appearance – 177
- Goal – 121
- Position – Forward
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had an illustrious career as a striker, playing for several clubs including PSV, De Graafschap, AGOVV, Apeldoorn, Heerenveen, Ajax, Real Madrid, Milan, and Schalke 04.
Notably, he became Schalke’s second-highest goalscorer of all time, behind Klaus Fischer.
In his early career, Huntelaar was recognized as the Dutch Football Talent of the Year and Ajax Player of the Year in 2006.
He was part of the successful Dutch side that won the 2006 UEFA U-21 Championship, where he was the tournament’s leading goalscorer and won the Player of the Tournament award.
He also secured a place in the UEFA Team of the Tournament as one of the two strikers.
During his time at Ajax, Huntelaar made a great impact, scoring 33 league goals in his first half-season and finishing as the league’s top scorer.
He played a key role in helping Ajax secure the KNVB Cup, contributing two goals in the final against his former club PSV.
In the following seasons, Huntelaar continued to shine, scoring prolifically for Ajax.
He formed a striking partnership with Luis Suárez and became the team’s permanent captain under coach Marco van Basten.
Huntelaar’s goal-scoring ability earned him the top scorer title in the Eredivisie, and he surpassed the milestone of 100 goals in the league before turning 25, a feat accomplished by only Dennis Bergkamp and Dirk Kuyt in the previous 25 years.
Unfortunately, his time at Ajax was cut short by an ankle injury. After recovering, he went on to play for other renowned clubs, leaving behind a legacy as one of Ajax’s most prolific and successful strikers in recent history.
8. Barry Hulshoff
- Appearance – 288
- Goal – 17
- Position – Defender
Barry Hulshoff spent the majority of his playing career at Ajax Amsterdam, where he achieved remarkable success and was an integral part of their European Cup triumphs in 1971, 1972, and 1973.
Hulshoff’s contributions to the team were crucial, and he played a key role in Ajax’s dominant era of the early 1970s.
In addition to his club achievements, Hulshoff also represented the Netherlands national football team, earning a total of 14 caps.
After retiring from professional football, Hulshoff embarked on a coaching career.
He first took charge of Ajax for a single season, bringing his wealth of knowledge and experience to the team from a different perspective.
He ventured into coaching various Belgian football clubs, where he shared his expertise and played a pivotal role in developing young talents.
He won six Eredivisie titles, four KNVB Cups, three consecutive European Cups, two European Super Cups, and an Intercontinental Cup with Ajax.
9. Piet Keizer
- Appearance – 365
- Goal – 146
- Position – Forward
Piet Keizer was renowned for his skill and contributions as a left winger.
He made his name in football history as an integral part of the famous “Total Football” era at Ajax Amsterdam during the 1960s and 1970s.
Keizer’s prominence grew under the managerial reigns of Rinus Michels and Stefan Kovacs from 1965 to 1973, when he announced his exceptional talent on the field.
He is considered one of the greatest players in Dutch football history, and his abilities were held in high regard, even earning praise from writer Nico Scheepmaker, who declared Keizer to be superior to Johan Cruyff.
During his illustrious club career, Keizer amassed an impressive 490 official appearances for Ajax, scoring 189 goals between 1961 and 1974.
He was crucial in Ajax’s success, including three consecutive European Cup triumphs in 1971, 1972, and 1973.
Although Ajax had faced defeat in the 1969 European Cup final against A.C. Milan, Keizer, and his teammates went on to secure numerous other cups, including six Eredivisie titles, five KNVB Cups, two European Super Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, and one Intertoto Cup.
In August 1973, under the guidance of new Ajax manager George Knobel, Keizer was elected by his fellow players to become the team’s captain in a confidential vote, surpassing Johan Cruyff.
However, shortly after this decision, Cruyff departed Ajax to join Barcelona, leaving a void that would forever alter the course of the team’s history.
10. Gerrit Keizer
- Appearance – 302
- Goal – 0
- Position – Goalkeeper
Gerard Pieter Keizer was a Dutch footballer who made an impact as a goalkeeper in his career.
He was a success with AFC Ajax in the Netherlands and played a crucial role in the early success of English side Arsenal, helping them secure their first-ever league title.
Keizer began his club career at the age of 16 when he joined Ajax Amsterdam.
After two years, he made his debut for the club against Stormvogels on April 1, 1929.
He started his English stint as an amateur player for Margate, a team affiliated with Arsenal.
Arsenal’s manager, Herbert Chapman, quickly noticed Keizer’s talent and brought him into the first team. Keizer made his club debut for Arsenal against Blackpool on August 30, 1930, and also played in their 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the 1930 Charity Shield.
He went on to feature in the first twelve matches of Arsenal’s 1930-31 First Division campaign, which culminated in their first-ever league title.
However, Keizer lost his regular spot in the team, facing competition from other Arsenal goalkeepers such as Bill Harper and Charlie Preedy.
In July 1931, he left Arsenal and joined Charlton Athletic before eventually playing for Queens Park Rangers.
In 1933, Keizer returned to Amsterdam and became Ajax’s first-choice goalkeeper.
He went on to make over 300 appearances for the club, earning a legendary status.
Frank de Boer, Piet van Reenen, Ruud Krol, Danny Blind, Johan Cruyff, Cees Groot, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Barry Hulshoff, Piet Keizer, and Gerrit Keizer are my top 10 best Ajax players of all time.
These players’ performances contributed to Ajax’s success in domestic and European competitions. However, does my rating meet your expectations? Or which player you would have loved to see on the list, and why?
Let’s discuss this in the comment section.