In 1995, Nwankwo Kanu and Clarence Seedorf were 19. A bunch of other players were
in their early 20s.
Starters against Lyon on Thursday included 17-year-old Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt, 19-year Danish forward Kasper Dolberg, 20-year-old Colombian defender Davinson Sanchez, 21-year-old Cameroonian keeper Andre Onana and 21-year-old Burkinabe forward Bertrand Traore.
Whether Ajax wins or loses May 24 in Stockholm, the real test for the Amsterdam club will come over the summer when it tries to keep the team together. Over the last two decades, it has produced plenty of great players -- Luis Suarez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wesley Sneijder, Christian Eriksen -- but it has been unable to keep them in the Bosman era that began after the 1995 title.
Another connection to the 1995 team is keeper Edwin Van der Sar, now a front-office executive at the club.
"We want to make Ajax more financially more stable and are looking to close the gap on the European front," he told Reuters in a telephone interview. "We are not reaching the 600-700 million [euro] budget that the top clubs in Europe are making mainly through sponsoring, TV revenue in their country and revenues from the Champions League. We want to do it differently, by focusing on quality and maintaining the best players."
Easier said than done.