"Things are going well now," the Ajax keeper says, thankfully. "I had surgery two or three months ago. Things are going in the right direction now."
The goalkeeper suffered from hip and groin pain in the preparation for this season. He was initially able to train and play matches despite the issues, but the problems kept coming back. Stekelenburg still participated in the first four matches in the league, even with the pain getting worse each game.
"Then we started doing research at the hospital. There, they found out that there was a lot of damage in my hip. There was no point in continuing." And that's why the Dutchman had surgery. "The operation went well. They were able to repair everything that was damaged."
European Championships in 2021
The 39-year-old goalkeeper's injury put a damper on an otherwise fantastic year for him. He replaced the suspended Andre Onana at Ajax with verve, won the double and even made it to the European Championship with the Dutch national team.
"I was especially happy to return to Ajax. Eventually, I was put in as the starting goalkeeper. At that time, I was not thinking about the Dutch national team yet. When I was with Oranje at the end of the season, I started hoping to play at the European Championship. The tournament was very special, I am very proud of that. The result was just a bit of a disappointment."
Despite his injury, the goalkeeper remains involved with the Ajax first team and helps the other goalies. "That is also one of the reasons that I want do my rehab at Ajax. You’ll have to ask the other keepers if I am really helping them. Remko Pasveer is doing excellent now. Just look at the number of goals Ajax have conceded."
Stekelenburg does not yet know when he can make his comeback in Erik ten Hag's team. "It will be very difficult to get fit this season. I will do everything I can, but it will be a difficult story. And that is very frustrating."