Football Football

Van der Sar bids farewell at Ajax finale


THE HAGUE August 4 – Manchester United’s former Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar bid farewell to his adoring public on Wednesday in the company of several star internationals in front of 53,000 Ajax fans.

“I want to thank everyone in the stadium … thanks for your support down through the years,” van der Sar told the crowd at the Ajax Arena where he started his career in 1990.

The towering 1.97m goalie selected a “Dream Team” made up notably of Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Dirk Kuyt, Edgar Davids, Rio Ferdinand and Dennis Bergkamp, who played for an hour against Dutch giants Ajax.

To a standing ovation from the crowd, Van der Sar left the pitch several minutes before the end of the game which was won 2-1 by the “Dream Team” thanks to goals from Louis Saha and Bergkamp.

“He is maybe the best goalkeeper that Manchester United ever had, but I say maybe because we also had Peter Schmeichel,” said United legend Sir Bobby Charlton.

Earlier in the evening two teams for which van der Sar played – Ajax, with whom he won the Champions League in 1995, and the Dutch national side that were World Cup semi-finalists in 1998 – played each other.

Patrick Kluivert, Marc Overmars, Frank Rijkaard, Frank de Boer and his brother Ronald, represented Ajax while Bergkamp and Giovanni van Bronckhorst were among the players representing the national side.

“Ajax fans thank Edwin van der Sar,” a banner draped on the stands read.

Van der Sar won the Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and Manchester United in 2008, four Premier League titles and four Dutch league titles.

The 40-year-old also holds the Premier League record of 1,311 minutes without conceding a goal during the 2010-2011 season and a Dutch record for 130 caps.

He started his career at Ajax (1990-1999) before moving on to Juventus (1999-2001), Fulham (2011-2005) and Manchester United (2005-2011), playing his last official match at Wembley on May 28 during the Champions League final loss to Barcelona.