May 20, 2008

New Ajax boss Marco van Basten has decided that two of the squad's most experienced players, Edgar Davids and Sammy Osei Kuffour, will be of no further use to the club.

Of course, the decision will raise few eyebrows, even in the case of Davids, one of world football's emblematical defensive midfielders in the past 15 years or so.

"Ajax and Edgar Davids have decided not to enter into a new agreement with each other," the club said in a statement on its official Web site. "The current contract of the captain runs out on June 30."

The 35-year-old Suriname-born Dutch international returned to Amsterdam for a second spell in January 2007, after he spent 10½ years playing for some of Europe's household names: AC Milan, Juventus Torino, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Tottenham.

However, a string of injuries didn't allow him to participate in more than 34 matches and score more than once in the 17 months that followed, even though he was handed the captain's armband.

Davids had previously hinted on several occasions that he could leave Amsterdam at the end of this season, although he denied that had anything to do with his allegedly poor relationship with van Basten.

Despite his age, Davids is not ready to hang up his boots just yet.

"On the one hand, I'm sorry that we part ways, because I'm an Amsterdammer and a real Ajax man," he told the Ajax Web site. "But I cannot stay with Ajax at all cost. I have said in the past weeks that the chance that I would stay was small. At this moment I don't know what I will do. There has been plenty of interest. I am fit and feel good enough to keep playing on a high level."

"When I played on Sunday [in the 0-0 home draw with Twente], it did not occur to me that it would be my last time in an Ajax shirt. But when I went off the pitch, it felt like the last time. For that reason, I made the rounds past the stands with [new Atlético Madrid recruit] Johnny Heitinga, really a sort of a farewell round.

It is normal to thank the fans when you have played, but I did it a bit more thoroughly this time. In the beginning of next season, I will definitely stop by to say a proper goodbye to the supporters."

The Pitbull had started his professional career with Ajax and, including the 1991-96 period, he played a total of 184 matches and scored 36 times. He also won almost everything there is to win: a former Intercontinental Cup, a European Super Cup, one European Champions League, one UEFA Cup, four Johan Cruijff Schalen, three Eredivisie titles and the Beker twice.

Ajax fans are certain to miss Davids, but that could hardly be said about Ghanaian international Kuffour, who only managed to play twice in a Godenzonen shirt since his free transfer from Roma, last January, in part because of injuries.

The club had the option to extend the 31-year-old central defender's initial six-month contract by another two years, but opted not to "after careful deliberation," according to an official statement.

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