Ajax are one of the most revered football clubs in the sport's history.
The reigning kings of the Netherlands and four-time European champions, Ajax have played host to some of the greatest players of all time from Johan Cruyff to Marco van Basten.
Throw in the likes of Edwin van der Sar, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Kluivert, Ronald Koeman, Frank Rijkaard and Johan Neeskens for good measure and you probably get the point.
Ajax's rich history
However, for all those legends predating the 21st century, the highly-respected academy at Ajax has still been churning out world-class players, even if they're no longer conquering the continent.
It feels as though most European clubs have some sort of throughline back to the Amsterdam club, which is both a credit to the organisation, but also a shame that players are so readily departing.
And bearing that in mind, we wanted to take a look at some of the best players still playing in the professional game that Ajax have sold over the last 20 years.
Ajax if they never sold their best players
As a result, we can imagine the astonishing XI that Erik ten Hag would be able to deploy in a parallel universe where they never sold their very best assets - check it out down below:
GK - Jasper Cillessen
Ok, sure, something of an underwhelming start because Cillessen is currently collecting dust on the sidelines for Valencia, but the former Barcelona man is a decent enough shot-stopper on his day.
RB - Toby Alderweireld
Now we're getting into the good stuff. There are no two ways about it, Alderweireld is one of the best defenders in the Premier League and Spurs' back four would likely crumble without him.
CB - Matthijs de Ligt
Aside from a penchant for conceding handball penalties, De Ligt has made a solid start to life at Juventus, proving that his Herculean form with Ajax during his final season wasn't simply a fluke.
CB - Jan Vertonghen
His prime years of holding the fort at Tottenham might be long forgotten, but make no mistake that Vertonghen has still got plenty left in the tank and could be crucial for Belgium at Euro 2020.
LB - Daley Blind
The only player in the team who still plies his trade in the Dutch capital, but we couldn't resist picking a stalwart whose performances earned him a move to Manchester United in 2014.
RM - Hakim Ziyech
Ajax's Player of the Season during his final year in Amsterdam, Ziyech is about as entertaining as they come and you just know that he's going to explode into life at Chelsea before 2020/21 is out.
CM - Frenkie de Jong
Fresh from scoring in the Supercopa de España for Barcelona, it only makes sense that the metronomic presence in Ajax's Champions League semi-finalists of 2018/19 gets the nod.
CM - Donny van de Beek
For all his struggles at Old Trafford, Ajax fans would bite United's hand off to have Van be Beek back in their squad with the Dutch general delivering a cocktail of goals and assists from midfield.
LM - Christian Eriksen
For whatever reason, Antonio Conte isn't a fan of the Danish magician, but lest we forget that we're talking about a player with 62 Premier League assists who can still do the business at the top level.
ST - Luis Suarez
With nine goals in 12 La Liga games for Atletico Madrid, Barcelona must be kicking themselves for flogging the two-time European Golden Shoe winner, who played 159 times for Ajax, so easily.
ST - Zlatan Ibrahimovic
It might seem like centuries ago that Ibrahimovic plied his trade in the Eredivisie, but his insane record of 10 Serie A goals from seven games this season show he's still going strong at age 39.
A world-class XI
If all these players were in their prime, they'd be Champions League winners. There, I said it.
Back them up with the Eriksen, Alderweireld and Vertonghen that almost led Spurs to the Premier League title as well as Ajax's Champions League semi-finalists and I'm sure you'll understand where I'm coming from.
Sadly, we'll never get to see that imaginary all-star Ajax team lifting 'Big Ears' above their head, but the club can rest assured that they remain one of the main protagonists in the beautiful game.News Now - Sport News