In images | Blind’s route to 250 games for Ajax

Daley Blind Eerste Contract
Daley Blind Eerste Contract

Daley Blind has reached a special milestone. The Ajax defender played against PEC Zwolle, marking his 250th game for Ajax 1. With the help of some photos, we take a look back at his long and memorable route to this remarkable anniversary.

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Blind is currently the Ajax player with most games at the highest European level. With a number of 250 played matches, Blind holds the 38th spot as player with most Ajax games ever played. 

Daley Blind’s first memories of Ajax come from his father Danny. At Danny’s farewell match on May 16h, 1999, he took his first steps on the pitch as a nine-year-old mascot holding his father’s hand.

"You know, when I was on the field, I didn’t realize the impact that match," Blind recalls. "I kind of just did the things a mascot does. But I saw in my mother’s emotions in the stands what an important moment it was. Tears in her eyes, she hugged me, and it made me realize that it was not just any normal moment. She was clearly emotional and that had an effect on me as well."

Shortly after that memorable afternoon, Blind joined Ajax’s youth academy. He began in the U10 and continued through the entire system at the Toekomst.

He always had an easy time as a youth player at Ajax. From a young age, Blind was comfortable on the ball, which helps with his team always having possession. However, his game off the ball had room for improvement. The arrival of Eyong Enoh, who first joined Young Ajax, was eye-opening for Blind.

"He is the kind of player that I was not, always winning the ball and strong on the defensive side of the ball," Blind told the Ajax Podcast. "At the youth level with Ajax you always had the ball. As you get older you learn to play more without the ball, but that didn’t happen naturally."

Thinking back on the intense ferocity that Enoh showed on the training pitch, Blind couldn’t help but smile. "When I saw how Enoh was putting pressure on all of us, I thought: ‘how can I improve on that side of things?'"

On December 7, 2008, Blind made his debut for Ajax 1. In the second half of an away match against FC Volendam, he was subbed on.

After his debut, in which Blind played excellently and won the decisive corner, he joined the first team on a permanent basis. However, for the first time his career, he faced setbacks.

His relationship with Martin Jol, successor to Marco van Basten was not the best and in the minutes he did play, he did not reach his top level. Blind got loaned out to FC Groningen.

Blind fought back though. He was used as a back in Groningen, sometimes even on the right side, but he found his niche in the north. With each game, he became more important for FC Groningen.

The result of his success was a return to Ajax. Frank de Boer saw the potential in him and brought him back, increasingly using him at the left back position. In that time, he made his breakthrough as an Ajax player. In the years under de Boer, Blind developed into a strongman, first as a left back and later as a controlling midfielder.

After 143 games he left Ajax as captain in 2014. Blind signed a four-year contract with Manchester United.

Blind played four seasons at Manchester United. He became a valuable asset and won the UEFA Europa League, unfortunately, against Ajax.

The fact that Marc Overmars succeeded in bringing Blind back to Ajax in the summer of 2018 was seen as big accomplishment. ‘Daley is coming home’. A child of the club returns.

After his return, Blind was employed in a third position as an Ajax player. As a center-back he was instrumental in the famous 2018/2019 season, where he helped win the double and reached the Champions League semi-final.

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