Miralem Sulejmani returned to the field in Wednesday’s Champions League match against Dinamo Zagreb, after being side-lined for two weeks due to a groin injury. The Serbian winger made his mark on the match by scoring a goal.
Prior to the Feyenoord match (1-1) on October 23, Miralem Sulejmani was injured during warm up. “It happened when I was making my very last shot”, he looked back on the duel in the Amsterdam ArenA, during which he actually played for 55 minutes. “I took a shot on goal and it felt like something broke in my groin. I couldn’t sprint anymore. If I tried, I had to stop right away because of the pain. I was so disappointed, because it was one of the most important matches for Ajax, for the supporters, and for me.”
Sulejmani returned to the field for Champions League match against Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday. “It was good to be back after my injury”, says Sulejmani. “I’m glad it wasn’t a long term injury. That’s what I had been afraid of in the beginning. My groin is a vulnerable place, because I’m a player who needs to be fast. So I need to watch out. Fortunately, it only cost me two matches.” Those two matches were against Roda JC in Kerkrade, for the KNVB Cup and competition. The Serb watched from home. “I’m glad the team won, when I wasn’t there and could build up confidence for the match against Dinamo Zagreb.”
The club from Zagreb suffered one goal against after another. In the end, the counter remained at 4-0. A great result for Ajax, because this win ensures that the team plays European football after the winter break. “We’re so happy to have won, and that we have a chance to play Champions League after the winter break”, says Sulejmani. Both Sulejmani and Gregory van der Wiel, who both missed the two Roda JC games, were in top form against the Croatian opponent. Sulejmani is happier for van der Wiel than for himself. “I’m really pleased for Gregory, because he played great against Dinamo, and especially because of the messages from the supporters after his previous matches. I’m so happy that he showed what he can do at this level”, Sulejmani praised his team mate.
Sulejmani exudes serenity and maturity. Being a brand new father has helped. I feel much calmer since I’ve become a father. I enjoy the small things more. It’s hard to explain.” The proud smile on his face speaks volumes. “Fatherhood has made me more relaxed. When problems arise now, either work related or personal, I’m more relaxed. I forget everything when I see my son.”
Is Sulejmani one of the Ajax team’s forces? He remains modest. “That’s not important to me”, he says. “If every player gets individually stronger, you’ll see the result in the group. It raises the whole level. That’s true for me, too. I’m doing my best for the team and I’m trying to help everyone. We’ll all do whatever it takes for each other.”
An important match against FC Utrecht is on the agenda for Sunday. “I follow Utrecht, and of course my friend Rodney Sneijder who plays there. They’re not doing as well as last season, but the match against Ajax is another story. It’s an important game for the supporters, for us, and for Utrecht. It’s going to be an exciting match, we’ll be giving 150 per cent. We’re going there after a great game against Dinamo Zagreb. That’s a great boost, and it will give us confidence.”