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22.04.2008 12:19

From the Ernst Happel to Camp Nou

Sandra Sarmiento

Frank Rijkaard and Edwin Van der Sar played together in the final of the Champions League in 1995 as they helped Ajax defeat AC Milan with a goal from former Balugrana star Patrick Kluivert and will now meet again on Wednesday evening.

On May 24, 1995 in the Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna some 49,730 fans witnessed a tantalising game between two ends of the football spectrum. On one hand Fabio Capello's Rossoneri side contained such experienced stars as Rossi, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta, Demetrio Albertini, current Italian coach Roberto Donadoni and the evergreen Paolo Maldini.

The Dutch outfit, coach by Louis van Gaal, though was very young with names such as Van der Sar, Michael Reiziger, Frank de Boer, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, Jari Litmanen and Marc Overmars all just starting out in their careers. Rijkaard was seen as the veteran of the team that caused an upset as Kluivert netted the winner five minutes from the end.

Van der Sar and Rijkaard spent two seasons together at Ajax and have worked together when the former midfielder took charge of the Dutch national for the European Championships.

Two spells at Ajax

389390_mediumsquareaa.jpgRijkaard was born on September 30, 1962 and enjoyed two spells at Ajax during an illustrious playing career. A product of the Amsterdam club's unique youth system, he played for the first team between 1980 and 1988 and spent one season on loan at Real Zaragoza towards the end of that spell. His greatest successes as a player came at AC Milan where he won several titles between 1988 and 1993 before returning to Ajax to see out his career. It was at that time that he met up with Van der Sar, who at 23 was already the regular goalkeeper for the Dutch club. Together they won the European Cup, the European Super Cup and two Eredivisie titles.

The national team

cl-1995rijkaard.jpgAfter retiring, Rijkaard took up coaching in 1998 and was made Guus Hiddink's assistant in the national team set-up where he experienced the World Cup in France in the same year first hand. The Netherlands reached the semi finals of the competition before being beaten on penalties by Brazil. Edwin Van der Sar played six games in that tournament.

Rijkaard then stepped to take charge of the national team with the country co-hosting the European Championships in 2000 with Belgium. The trainer named Van der Sar in all five games in the final themselves as the Oranje again reached the semi finals before losing to Italy on penalties.
From the Ernst Happel to Camp Nou
First meeting for eight years
After leaving the national team coaching role, Rijkaard took over at Sparta Rotterdam and following a brief spell there was named as coach of FC Barcelona in 2003. In turn, Van der Sar played for Juventus and then Fulham before joining Manchester United in 2005. The duo have not been involved in a game together since teh semi finals of Euro 2000, but will meet again on Wednesday in Camp Nou.

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