Litmanen and Babel enjoy dual role at Anfield: 'It was amazing'

Jari Litmanen and Ryan Babel look back with great pleasure on Sunday afternoon's match between the Ajax Legends and the Liverpool Legends. The 53-year-old Finn and the 37-year-old Amsterdam native played for both teams at Anfield.

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 10:25, 25 Mar 2024

In an extraordinary display of football and nostalgia, Jari Litmanen and Ryan Babel partook in a unique event that bridged their illustrious pasts with Ajax and Liverpool.

The occasion was the much-anticipated match between the Ajax Legends and Liverpool Legends at Anfield, a venue steeped in history and fervor.

Jari Litmanen, serving as the initial captain for the Ajax Legends, experienced a poignant moment as he later donned the Liverpool jersey, symbolizing his deep connections with both clubs. His tenure at Liverpool, although brief from January 2001 to July 2002, was marked by the same brilliance he had shown at Ajax, where he remains a celebrated Champions League victor. Reflecting on his dual representation, Litmanen shared with This is Anfield, "I loved being there. I've played for both clubs, and they are both very dear to me."

Litmanen's football journey is a testament to his exceptional talent and enduring legacy. At Ajax, he etched his name in the annals of football history, contributing significantly to the club's domestic and international triumphs. Yet, it was Liverpool that captured his childhood imagination, making his later association with the club a fulfillment of a lifelong dream. His return to Anfield for this match allowed him to reconnect with many former teammates and rivals, emphasizing the strong bonds forged through football.

Ryan Babel's participation in the event mirrored Litmanen's sentiment and added his own chapter to the storied occasion. Having worn the Liverpool shirt from July 2007 to January 2011, Babel's return to Anfield evoked a flood of memories and emotions, especially as he also represented the Ajax Legends. His international career, marked by 69 caps, underscores his contributions to Dutch football, making his presence in the match a bridge between his professional and personal affiliations.

The atmosphere at Anfield, renowned for its electric and unwavering support, was a fitting backdrop to this celebration of football heritage. Babel expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to participate in such a unique event, highlighting the special connection he feels towards both Ajax and Liverpool. Through social media, he shared his excitement and appreciation, noting, "What an amazing atmosphere at Anfield, as we know it. I'm grateful that I could be here. It was extra special because my youth love Ajax was involved. I enjoyed it."

This match was not just a convergence of legendary talents from two of Europe's most storied clubs; it was a heartfelt homage to the enduring impact of football on individual lives and collective memories. For fans and players alike, it was a vivid reminder of the beautiful game's power to unite, celebrate, and reminisce about the moments that define the sport's rich history.

Updated: 10:25, 25 Mar 2024