Edwin van der Sar ended his impressive career on Wednesday night with a win. With his Dream Team, the 40 year old keeper defeated Ajax 1-2 in a sold out ArenA. Louis Saha and Dennis Bergkamp scored for ‘Sar’s’ dream team of players he played with at some point in his career. Derk Boerrigter scored on behalf of Ajax.
It was the best farewell that he could have asked for. It was an evening full of unique moments, shared with many fellow players with whom he has played during his rich career. The three fold evening – consisting of an Ajax D1 – Manchester United D1 match, Ajax ’95 against the Dutch national team ’98 and Ajax – Dream Van der Sar – reached its climax at around eight thirty in the evening, as he dove into the corner for the last time. He saved his son Joe’s penalty kick with flair. Van der Sar junior’s one-two was fitting in an evening which had something for everyone. “A celebration of memories”, as described by the star himself.
Around 60.000 supporters visited the Ajax Open Day, and 50.000 were present in the Amsterdam ArenA that evening. They were treated to a unique program, with the proceeds being donated to several charities. After son and keeper Joe van der Sar had had his minutes of fame during the Ajax D1 – Manchester United D1 match (2-2), the true football fireworks followed when all of the heroes from Ajax ’95 and the Duch team ’98 entered the ArenA. It lent a true Europa cup atmosphere to the steamy summer evening. The smallest man on the field, Marc Overmars, crowned the historic match with a shot fired into the upper corner. Thus ‘Sar’, thanks to his former colleagues, won his second to last match. And, not unimportant to a keeper, he kept a clean sheet.
Later, during the very last match – this time, as keeper of his own Dream Team – he left the field as a winner once again. Unfortunately he didn’t manage to keep a clean sheet, but the 1-2 victory against ‘his’ Ajax was in the cards. Derk Boerrigter scored during the second half (each half was thirty minutes). The attacker reacted swiftly when Rodney Sneijder’s hard shot landed at his feet via the post. Shortly before, Louis Saha has opened the score at the start of the second half. Dennis Bergkamp gave Van der Sar his win two minutes before the end. On a pass from Wayne Rooney, the illustrious number 10 brought home the victory for the illustrious number 1.
With a last lap of honour past the full stands, led by singer Mick Hucknall (Simply Red), ‘Sar’ reaped applause again. The tribute from the 50.000 Van der Sar and Ajax fan hit home with the 130 time international. With his wife Annemarie, daughter Lynn and son Joe, the former keeper for Ajax, Juventus, Fulham and Manchester United walked towards the F-side, where a fantastic fireworks display was set off.
When the smoke firnally cleared, the star of the show arrived on the fourth floor half an hour later for the last words in the press room. Accompanied by coaches Louis van Gaal, Guus Hiddink, Frank de Boer and Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Dutch national team captain summarized the evening. “Everything came together today. It gives me a great feeling. Compare it to a school reunion. When you see each other again, you click better with some people than with others. But it just clicked fantastically with everyone right away. You could see that tonight. It was a reunion that we’ll enjoy for a long time.”