Ruud Krol: 'Ajax always have to win'

,,It is good to be back with the club with which I have had so much success'', says Ruud Krol, who has been Ronald Koeman?s assistant since December 2001. ,,And it is even better that immediately we were successful again.'' Ruud Krol (53) played for Ajax (457 matches), Vancouver Whitecaps, Napoli and Cannes. As a coach he worked for KV Mechelen, Servette, the national team of Egypt, Zamalek, Al Wahad and the Dutch national team.

,,As a football player on the highest level you have to fight every day, to get the maximum out of yourself’’, Krol says. ,,It takes a lot to be a top player; one good match does not make you a good player. And winning one match does not make you a good team.’’ With his extensive experience the former record international (83 caps) tries to help today’s Ajax players. ,,But you cannot transfer your experience literally. You can talk about it, about how you can win as a team. We work with 27 players, a technical staff, a medical staff, the whole organisation around the team. It has to be teamwork. Everything is devoted to one thing: winning. I regularly talk to the players, when I think it is necessary. You have to have a feeling for that’’, says Krol.

Ruud Krol went to play abroad when he was 31 years old. ,,That was, in hindsight, too late’’, Krol thinks. ,,I wanted to play another European final with Ajax. That was possible, but Ajax had to sell some good players for financial reasons. Then I wanted to leave as well. I did have a good time at Ajax, but still you spend thirteen years in the same dressing room, with that same hook to hang your clothes on…I should have taken that step sooner, but not before I was twenty-six.’’

The coach hopes that this young Ajax squad remains together for some time. ,,Those young guys should not sit on the bench abroad. If you go when you are twenty-two or twenty-three, that is soon enough. It is also a lot easier to make your mark, because you are already someone they know. If you come into a team as a ‘raw talent’, that is more difficult. I can understand that players want to go higher, also because the money is better. But Ajax can be top level as well, if the group stays intact.’’

The times are hectic for the coaches, when Ajax play both on national and European level. ,,Ronald Koeman and I have quite some experience as players. We always had to perform so we know what it takes. You may know, that as a player I was quite nervous before a match. That all went away as soon as the game started. On the pitch, you can do something, change things. For a coach, that is much more difficult. Sometimes it is just impossible to reach your players in those large stadiums with those big, noisy crowds.’’

Ruud Krol’s passion for art, particularly surrealistic paintings, is well known. He does not use it in his work directly, but he sometimes draws inspiration from it. ,,It can put you at ease, music too. But football is not art. It is an art however, to be a good footballer.’’