Edwin van der Sar paid tribute to Erik ten Hag on the pitch after Ajax sealed the Eredivisie title as the Dutchman prepares to leave the club to join Manchester United.
Ajax were crowned Dutch champions in style as they thrashed Heerenveen 5-0 at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Wednesday, giving Old Trafford-bound Ten Hag the perfect send-off.
Victory handed Ten Hag, who will join United at the end of the season, his third title from four completed campaigns with the club.
Ten Hag signed his Ajax career off with a trophy after delivering his side the Eredivisie title
It was the last home fixture for Ten Hag before he makes his move to the Premier League, having been named last month by United as their new coach from the end of the season. Ajax finish their campaign at Vitesse Arnhem on Sunday.
Ten Hag spoke to thank his players and the fans before Van der Sar took the microphone.
Manchester United legend and Ajax chief executive Van der Sar said Ten Hag would leave with his best wishes in an emotional message to his departing manager.
Ajax beat Heerenveen 5-0 on Wednesday ahead of ten Hag’s move to Manchester United
‘Erik.. sometimes I thought ‘you are a weird man’. But you surpassed all expectations,’ Van der Sar told Ten Hag after the match. ‘Dominant football, semi-final Champions League, league titles.
‘You will leave for a club that is close to my heart. I wish you all the best there. Thank you, Erik ten Hag!’
Van der Sar revealed on the day Ten Hag’s appointment at Old Trafford was confirmed that Ajax were reluctant to lose their manager.
‘Four and a half years is a good amount of time, but we would have liked to have kept Erik at Ajax for longer,’ he said.
Ten Hag thanked the players and fans after wrapping up the title in his last home game at Ajax
Van der Sar said Ten Hag was leaving Ajax to join a club that is ‘close to my heart’
Ten Hag won three Eredivisie titles, two KNVB Cups and the Johan Cruyff Shield, and oversaw Ajax’s stunning run to the semi-finals of the 2018-19 Champions League, in his four-and-a-half years in charge of the club.
United also congratulated Ten Hag for his latest triumph in a statement on its official website. ‘Off the back of the Dutchman’s latest success, we look forward to welcoming Ten Hag to Old Trafford next season,’ United said. ‘Congratulations, Erik!’
Ten Hag stressed his focus remained on Ajax as it became clear that he would be the new permanent manager at United but can now turn his attention to the huge rebuild ahead of him at Old Trafford.
He has reportedly ordered United’s flops to report back for pre-season training two weeks earlier than originally planned.