When Daley Blind moved from AFC Ajax to Bayern Munich this winter, it came as quite a shock to the wider footballing community. The transfer really just seemed to come out of nowhere. Now, in a tell-all interview with AD, the player himself revealed that the transfer wasn’t necessarily his decision.
The interview is absolutely massive, and locked behind a paywall. We’ll reproduce the relevant portion here, where Blind makes explosive claims about his former club and the coach Alfred Schreuder. The translation comes courtesy of DeepL.
“I thought for a very long time that I would finish my career at Ajax,’’ said Blind. “And then I thought: if I do go sooner, then next summer, when my contract expires. With hopefully another title and a farewell through the front door.”
“But it got to the point where I wasn’t even welcome at the club where I’ve walked around since I was seven.” The interview notes the sadness when he talks about the incident. “On Dec. 26, the management said they definitely did not want me at the restart of training sessions on the 27th and it came to contract termination. That was the end of a weeks-long, painful rollercoaster.’’
Apparently, Ajax’s new Director of Football (essentially the sporting director, the same role Hasan Salihamidzic has at Bayern) Klaas-Jan Huntelaar appeared on a TV program in the Netherlands and claimed Blind left because “the coach made a different choice” in the lineup.
Blind strongly denies this. “He shouldn’t speak for me,” said the defender. “That was not the last straw for me. The last straw was: being demoted from first choice at a position to fourth choice. And that the coach totally ignored me anyway after a verbal altercation at halftime against RKC.”
He also criticizes the Ajax SD’s conduct. “Huntelaar made me look like the bad guy to supporters. I immediately texted him that too. I also find it typical that Ajax is the first to go public, while a mutual penalty clause was included in the dissolution agreement: I wouldn’t say anything about Ajax, they wouldn’t say anything about me. The club wanted that clause, huh ...”
Hence the tell-all interview. That Ajax actually interested a clause like that in Blind’s contract says a lot. However, there’s more.
The clueless Alfred Schreuder
Expanding on the general chaos and toxicity at Ajax, Blind told the story of a dressing room incident between him and his coach, Alfred Schreuder.
“I just mentioned RKC,” said the 32-year-old, presumably referring to RKC Waalwijk. “What happened there between the coach and me, that caused a lot. We didn’t play well.”
“At halftime, Schreuder told us that our pressing wasn’t going well. That had to change. ‘What do you think?’, he asked a couple of attackers. ‘What do you prefer?’, because English is the language of communication. I stood up and said out loud in the locker room: ‘Coach, be clear and decide for yourself what we are going to execute!”
In Blind’s own words, Schreuder said, “You shut up! Shut your mouth and sit down!”
The player backed down at that point, but later he asked some physios if he’d gone too far. Apparently they didn’t feel he had. Under Erik ten Hag, such intense debates had been allowed. However, Schreuder then proceeded to completely sideline Blind. He would not speak to the player in training. Against PSV, he found out that he had been suddenly demoted to fourth-choice left-back, without any communication.
In the end, Blind concludes, “It was personal between me and Schreuder.”
A bitter departure
This part is especially long. It details the list of lies and backroom incidents Blind experienced after the RKC incident in his final months at Ajax. Even after he apologized in the media, the situation didn’t get better.
Apparently, the coach had also lied to him about his role in the squad. Blind said that Schreuder told him that he’d be an important pawn for the upcoming season. Therefore, the benching came as a complete surprise. However, the coach later went to the media and said he’d discussed a bench role for Blind before the beginning of the season. That was “a LIE” (emphasis from the interview) in Blind’s own words.
When Ajax players got called up to the World Cup, all of them got a congratulations from the coach, except for Blind. After his transfer to Bayern, when he went back to his club to say goodbye to the staff and teammates, Schreuder was nowhere to be found.
“I was hoping for Huntelaar & Hamstra, or Edwin van der Sar, to say: ‘let’s get you and the manager around a table to fix this.’ And I was hoping for them to say: ‘you, as a man of this club, we want to make sure you don’t even want to leave.”
“But no attempt was made from the management to bring the parties together,” said Blind. “Zero. Rather the opposite happened: they were very quick to tell me that I wanted to leave myself. I got the feeling that it suited them.”
Now that he’s at Bayern, Blind feels comfortable speaking about these things. The excerpts above are just a fraction of the total interview. Check it out if you have the time. There were also parts about Bayern, which we’ll cover separately. Stay tuned for that.
The level of dysfunction at Ajax is honestly shocking to ready about. No wonder they’ve been so poor this season. Coach Alfred Schreuder seems out of his depth, and Blind’s interview only throws more fuel to the fire. You have to wonder how this interview was received in the Netherlands.