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Ajax “punishes” new signing who made past pro-Feyenoord comments

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Finally, someone has a good time with past comments on social media, as the medium was intended.

Ajax signed 19-year-old goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen on a four-year deal from fellow Eredivisie club FC Emmen, and had a little fun with it. With rumors of Scherpen’s signing for the past few months, Ajax fans dug up old tweets from 2011 when the teen was just 11 years old and rooting for Feyenoord, one of Ajax’s biggest rivals.

While a number of Ajax fans COULDN’T BELIEVE that their potential new goalkeeper would have DARED to root for a team when he was in sixth grade, the club itself decided to instead poke fun at the situation while officially announcing the signing. In the video, Scherpen is seen being made to write “Ajax is de mooiste club van Nederland” over and over again, which translates to “Ajax is the finest club in the Netherlands.”

Ajax is a club that has recently built itself on developing and then selling young talent, and they weren’t going to be stopped from adding a bright young star just because he rooted for a rival club as a boy. Any professional athlete will tell you all that goes out the window when you’re employed by a team, and your career always comes first.

“Kjell is a very big talent and it is great that he has opted for Ajax,” said technical director Marc Overmars in the official team release. “We are very satisfied with [current first-team starting goalkeeper] Andre Onana’s recent contract extension, but we are of course also looking to the future. Kjell will be 1 of the 4 keepers in the A-selection and will therefore be on the training field with the first team on a daily basis. He is also young enough to be able to keep matches in the Kitchen Champion Division at Young Ajax.”

If anybody knows young goalkeeping talent, it’s Edwin van der Sar, former Manchester United legend between the sticks and current Ajax CEO. In the video, van der Sar and Overmars can be seen presiding over Scherpen’s “homework,” telling him sternly to pen his chosen phrase 100 times.

If there’s ever a way for a club’s PR team to drop a mic, this is most certainly it. Now the fans who campaigned to keep Scherpen out of the club should have no more gripe.

WATCH: Ajax mourns, salutes Johan Cruyff with video of early days

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Hendrik Johannes Cruijff (Cruyff) has passed away at the age of 68, and it’s allowed us all the bittersweet opportunity to remember the thrilling career of a creative footballing pioneer.

A league winner with three teams as a player as well as a three-time Ballon d’Or winner, Cruyff was a wizard with the ball. Most readily compared to Lionel Messi in terms of modern day players, he was a big part of a football and, basically, cultural revolution in Europe.

[ CRUYFF: The most influential man in soccer history ]

A legend at Ajax, the Dutch club has been mourning him all day. This video sheds some light on his humble beginnings, as the man who became a mercurial personality almost always looked joyful with the ball.

Set to a classical guitar rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son”, enjoy the brilliance of Cruyff.

WATCH: Ajax striker stuns keeper with plant foot penalty in training

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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With nearly a goal per Eredivisie game, 20-year-old Ajax striker Anwar El Ghazi is feeling it this season.

This was on display at Ajax training this week when the 6-foot-2 Dutchman hit an unusual penalty kick in training.

[ MORE: Sunderland adds big Bayern Munich back Kirchhoff ]

Watch as El Ghazi strides up to the ball and uses what normally would be his plant foot to shock the keeper to a stand still.

Ajax boss Frank de Boer admits interest in Tottenham, Liverpool head jobs

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Ajax boss Frank de Boer has a heck of a resume on the field and has begun to build his managerial reputation with three straight Eredivisie titles, with his Dutch club on the path to a fourth title (De Amsterdammers have a four-point lead on second place Twente, though they’ve played one more game).

But the 43-year-old is allowing himself to think beyond Holland, and in an appearance on the BBC World Football Show he admitted that Liverpool and Tottenham are attractive to him, even though he’s denied both clubs in the past.

“Those two clubs are clubs that I think in the future I could be a manager of. I think the history of the clubs and what you can do with the team is my cup of tea.”

Cups of tea currently being sipped by Tim Sherwood and Brendan Rodgers, though certainly one has more job security than the other. De Boer mentioned that he declined the opportunity to talk to Spurs when they parted way with Andre Villas-Boas this December.

Of course, De Boer provided the obligatory “but I’m cool right now” for Ajax supporters:

 “I’m not really thinking about it because I’m very happy here at Ajax. I’m not in a hurry to leave because everybody is still happy with me.

“I step in my car with a big smile to go to the club. I don’t think I’m finished here but there will come a time when I don’t like it any more or the club doesn’t like me anymore. Then we have to go both ways.”

Messi nets hat trick as Barcelona begins Champions League march with 4-0 win over Ajax (Video)

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Ajax may have re-established its Eredivisie dominance, as Frank de Boer has put a fresh polish on the old Ajax ways en route to three consecutive titles in the top Dutch division.

But a trip into the daunting Nou Camp, once more packed with almost 100,000 Blaugrana supporters, was too much for a young Ajax team, one once again stripped of its top talent in the annual transfer window raid on Holland’s most famous club.

Too bad, too, because this was such an intriguing matchup, one between two clubs so historically linked, and clubs that attempt to play the same way, while also remaining similarly reliant on youth development through their heralded academies. (Fox Soccer’s Leander Schaerlaeckens wrote about the close ties of today and yesterday here.)

Indeed, they may be stylistic kindred spirits, having birthed their games through some of the same tactical DNA, but Barca and Ajax are hardly playing the same game these days. (Haven’t been for a while, in fact.) Ajax players, gifted as they are, just cannot match Barca’s technical aptitude nor the collective wit – especially not when playing as the visitors in Catalonia.

Not that Ajax looked completely overwhelmed. For about 15 minutes right in the middle of Wednesday’s match, de Boer’s team created the better chances. Ricardo Van Rhijn came close on a diving header and Lerin Duarte probably could have done better with a lash from 18 yards right in the middle, both chances not long after the 30-minute mark.

In the end, Leo Messi’s fourth career hat trick help carry his Blaugrana steadily away in a 4-0 night at the Camp Nou.

New Blaugrana manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, the Argentine committed to re-establishing a Barca press that lost just a bit of its edge last year, felt comfortable enough to rest longtime Nou Camp midfield staple Xavi. Martino preferred the much younger Cesc Fabregas, knowing that Xavi, 33, will need strategic resting along the way. Indeed, Barca’s first match in tournament group play seems like a logical spot.

Barcelona did control things early, and Messi’s unstoppable free kick in the 21st minute brought the inevitable breakthrough. Neymar, along the left in Barca’s fluid 4-3-3, had been the most effective Barca man early, but it was Messi who drew the telling foul.

Later, Messi was sure to score on a 54th-minute counter attack, as Alexis Sanchez’s swell run inside freed the club’s Argentine star to waltz in along the right for a 2-0 lead. That one seemed to break the Ajax will.

It was hardly a perfect night from the Catalan giants, who lacked a certain urgency and sharpness for big stretches. Alexis and Fabregas seemed unusually subdued, Javier Mascherano was sloppy with too many of his passes from the back line and Dani Alves seemed reluctant to shoot.

In the end, goalkeeper Blaugrana ‘keeper Victor Valdes needed a big night just to keep the clean sheet.