Ajax trained for the first time on Turkish soil on Saturday evening. On the Cornelia Diamond football field, Frank de Boer’s team completed a training session, without Cvitanich and Graafland.
Dario Cvitanich was absent from the evening training. The forward was injured to his right ankle during the match against HSV on Saturday afternoon, and therefore remained in the hotel. The Argentinian player will need to see how his injury develops during the next few days.
The three keepers – newly named captain Maarten Stekelenburg, Jeroen Verhoeven and Ronald Graafland – joined a separate training session with keeper’s trainer Carlo l’Ami. But it was a short session for Graafland, as he left after fifteen minutes due to injury. The keeper made a move with his hand towards the ball, and hurt his finger. The severity of the injury is not yet known.
Graafland’s injury disrupted the training briefly, but everyone soon got back to work. After warming up, the field players were separated into two groups. One small group played keepaway and foot volley, which resulted in much enjoyment and laughter. The other group played a practice match of seven against seven.
One of the seven players from the red team is Bruno Silva. He keeps his focussed gaze on the ball, and passes his opponent. After a year’s absence, Silva can once again be seen sporting the Ajax jersey, which feels good to him. “I feel great about it”, says the outgoing player, who played half of the match against HSV on Saturday afternoon. “My fitness level isn’t one hundred per cent yet, but I’m working hard on it. In any case, I’m glad to be back.”
Last year, Silva was loaned out to Sport Club Internacional. With the successful Brazilian club, the right back won the Copa Libertadores at the expense of Club Deportivo Guadalajara. But Silva’s season could have been better. “My goal was to go to the World Cup in South Africa with Uruguay”, he explains. “But I didn’t make it. I played at the start of the season, but I got injured and was out for two months. When I returned, I barely played.” But he doesn’t regret it. “Each experience teaches you something, and that keeps you working hard.”
Now, he’s starting fresh in 2011 with his ‘new’ Ajax adventure. Silva wants to grab his chance, but he’s also realistic. “Gregory (Van der Wiel) is a very good player. He’s the man , but I want to make my contribution too. I want to help the team, and if the coach gives me an assignment, I’ll do it. I’ll keep working hard.”