Edwin van der Sar is ready for his extravaganza farewell celebration in the Amsterdam ArenA. The 40 year old goalie trained with Ajax at de Toekomst on Tuesday morning. The record holding international is looking forward to his last match ever. “It will be a celebration to remember.”
Lately, he’s been feeling more like an administrator than a keeper. There’s always a lot to organize with such a large scale farewell celebration, as Van der Sar has noticed recently. The e-mails and faxes concerning his farewell in the ArenA have been flying back and forth, even during his holiday. During the final days leading up to his last match, it’s time for the last minute fine tuning. And, not least of all, is his fitness. The legendary keeper naturally wants to leave an unforgettable impression during his very last match.
He was fully committed out on the Ajax practice field. Together with Kenneth Vermeer, Jeroen Verhoeven and keeper trainer Carlo l’Ami, he went through a complete practice. Under the watchful eye of keeper Maarten Stekelenburg – who had come to say goodbye to his team mates – the 130 time international was put to the test. “I had to work hard. But it was a great morning” , he says later, coming outside after a shower. He’s looking forward to Wednesday evening. “It’s amazing to see that this match is important to everyone. With all of the (former) players, myself, but also with the supporters. I noticed that at the practice this morning.”
Since the Champions League finals defeat against FC Barcelona (his last official match for Manchester United as a professional), Van der Sar practiced with United for one more week. He didn’t exactly rest on his laurels during his holidays, either, as he says this morning at de Toekomst. “I went running and did some strength training, but that’s different than training on the field. Fortunately, I was able to do that with Ajax here this morning.”
Van der Sar:”It will be a celebration to remember. Especially with the Ajax ’95 players. Many fathers will bring their kids to the sold out ArenA tomorrow, and tell them all about that fantastic era. That’s just amazing.” Within his ’95 team, which will be led by Louis van Gaal on Wednesday, the farewell match is enthusiatically awaited. “Marc Overmars and I have been in touch a lot lately by text message. He says that he’s still fit. So we’re looking good for tomorrow night!”