“You can call me fanatical, you can call me obsessed, but I want to make a bigger mark than just a player”
Obsessed is probably the best word you could use to describe me. I prefer to use committed but you can do whatever. Just remember I was a ledgend of the game. When I first walked, it was to a football. By the time I was 10, I had been inducted into the academy of the club I revered... AFC Ajax. I was touted as the next great thing to come from the famed academy and, don’t call me arrogant, I was. I never got European success with the club though. That grate squad of 95 was never to be matched. I made my debut in the first day of the 2000/2001 season, with interest from Real Madrid reported. Despite this, I stayed. By 04/05 however, I had won the golden boy and was holding back my career by staying with my boyhood club. I therefore did the logical thing and took my pick of the elite clubs. I chose Barcalona. To walk out at the Amsterdam Arena had been my boyhood dream, I had achieved that. What next? The Camp Nou of course. I was to compleate with Ronaldinho for a place at the Catalan giants. I took to Spain like a duck to water. A goal with two assists on my debut made me practically undroppable, something confirmed around October by then manager Frank Rijkard. A hat trick in El Classico followed that. And after that came 3 ballon’dors (2004, 2005, 2010). I was at Barca for 6 years, winning everything there was to win and even learning my managerial philosophy, one of pure creativity and freedom similar to Cruyff’s ‘Totaal Voetbal’ and Guadiola’s tiki taka. The next move was £50 million to Manchester City. Their ambition impressed me, but I never was quite sure about the move. I still played like a world class player and won an EPL medal, but I was never happy and left the following summer to Bayern Munich after injury disruption prevented me from playing the second half of the season. I rediscovered my mojo (some say I never lost it) and was instrumental in their UCL win. An injury prevented me from playing until October in the 13/14 season and this was when tragedy struck. In the 28th minute on my first start back, Hoffenheim Defender Süle, whom I had praised beforehand, broke my career. It was a risk for Guadiola (who I was now reunited with) to start me. I had pulled up short on the ball and Süle,s tackle thus missed it’s intended target and clattered into my ankle. This broke the ankle, the fall however, destroyed both my bone and ligaments in my lower leg. I passed out from the pain and was told I’d never play again. Somehow I was ready for the late end of 14/15, but the injury was not passed. Even in a light running role with the match wrapped up, my leg collapsed from under me. That same day I announced that I would be retiring from football, aged 30.
I had intense surgery on my leg, resulting in the amputation of my right leg up to the knee. I became severely depressed for a while after, even during my gig as head of the famed Ajax academy. “I will never play again. Never will I influence things on the pitch again”. I had a backup plan however. Injuries had always been with me, minor strains were semi regular. To pass up time when I wasn’t playing, and in the summer when most players are on holiday (told you I’m obsessed) I did my coaching badges. I had my UEFA A Licence when I retired and after pondering my existence and purpose in life, I realised/was told by a higher force this, this one line that would change me forever...
“Why not become one of the great managers. You already have a successful playing career and a UEFA A Licence under your belt”
That summer I took the job as head of the Ajax academy. That became Manager a year later. I promoted Kluivert, De Ligt and many others to key or rotation roles in the squad. Despite a poor showing in Europe, I created another golden generation. Playing a 433 with Riederwald as my Regista, we dropped just 9 points and loosing only once on our way to a dominant return to Edrivise Champions.
I am Jeefson Sneidj, this is my story