The semifinals of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League will see Liverpool take on Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur up against Ajax. These fixtures will give six stars the opportunity to play their former club for the first time since.
6) Davinson Sánchez – Tottenham Hotspur
There are four Tottenham Hotspur players who will be playing against their former club in the Champions League semifinal and of those four, Davinson Sanchez is the only player who did not come through the club’s famous academy.
Sanchez signed for Ajax is in June 2016 from Atletico Nacional for only €5 million and in his debut season, he helped the club reach the final of the UEFA Europa League against Manchester United.
The Colombian played 47 times for Ajax and scored seven goals before joining Tottenham Hotspur for a club record £42 million in August 2017. He has gone on to play 72 games for Spurs so far and is currently the club’s third choice centre-back behind two other former Ajax players.
5) Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham Hotspur
Jan Vertonghen joined Ajax in 2003 and made his professional debut for the club three years later. He spent one season on loan at RKC Waalwijk from Ajax and still played 220 times for the club by the end of the 2011/12 season while also scoring 28 goals.
In July 2012, the Belgian completed a €12 million move to Spurs and has been with the club since. Vertonghen is one of the seniormost players in the Spurs team at the moment and has played 276 games so far.
Although he hasn’t won any trophies since leaving Ajax, he was named in the PFA Team of the Year twice of which the first came in his debut season in England.
4) Toby Alderweireld – Tottenham Hotspur
Toby Alderweireld is the only former Ajax player in this list who did not join Tottenham directly from Ajax.
Alderweireld joined Ajax in 2004 and made his professional debut with the club in January 2009. The following season, he established himself in the first team after compatriot, Thomas Vermaelen, joined Arsenal.
Alderweireld played 186 times for Ajax before leaving in 2013 to join Atletico Madrid. He won the La Liga in his debut season with Atletico but was used as a backup and therefore, left the club on loan in 2014/15 to play for Southampton.
After impressing on loan at Southampton, Spurs signed him in 2015 for only £11.5 million. He has gone on to play 155 games for the club while also earning a reputation as one of the best defenders in the league which is why he was named in the PFA Team of the Year in 2015/16.
3) Christian Eriksen – Tottenham Hotspur
All four former Ajax players at Spurs have done well for the North London club but the biggest success of them all is easily Christian Eriksen. The Dane was one of the players Tottenham signed for the money they made from the sale of Gareth Bale and the £11 million they paid for his services, in hindsight, looks like daylight robbery.
Eriksen joined the Ajax academy in 2008 and made his first-team debut in January 2010. Up until the end of the 2011/12 season, he shared the dressing room with Vertonghen and Alderweireld at Ajax.
The Dane played 163 games for Ajax and racked up 32 goals and 65 assists before going on to score 64 goals and assist 86 more in 269 games for Tottenham.
2) Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool FC
Since 2010, Barcelona have signed three stars from Liverpool and Philippe Coutinho is the latest one.
Coutinho joined Liverpool in January 2012 from Inter Milan for only £8.5 million and made an instant impact. He played 201 games for the club scoring 54 goals and assisting 45 more before a controversial switch to Barcelona in January 2018.
The Brazilian was a target for Barcelona during the summer transfer window of 2017 as a potential replacement for Neymar but Liverpool refused to sell the player. However, Jurgen Klopp sanctioned the sale in January and Coutinho was sold to Barcelona for an initial £105 million, which could rise to £142 million making him the Catalan club’s most expensive player.
The 26-year-old hasn’t had the impact expected of him at Barcelona but a record of 21 goals and 11 assists in 69 games isn’t bad.
1) Luis Suarez – Barcelona
Luis Suarez is the fifth former Ajax player on this list but he will have to overcome another former club of his if he has to have a chance of playing against Ajax in the final.
Suarez joined Liverpool in January 2011 as a replacement for Fernando Torres. He played 133 games for the Reds, scored 82 goals and assisted 47 more during his three and a half year stint. In his final season for Liverpool, he scored 31 goals and assisted 12 more in only 33 Premier League games.
The Uruguayan signed for Barcelona in 2014 for £65 million and has established himself as one of the best players in the world. He has 175 goals and 95 assists for his present club in only 242 games.