"The future of Dutch football" according to his coach at AFC Ajax, 18-year-old midfielder Riechedly Bazoer is being likened to Oranje greats Frank Rijkaard and Clarence Seedorf.
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UEFA.com continues its weekly wonderkid feature by looking at AFC Ajax midfielder Riechedly Bazoer.
Name: Riechedly Bazoer
Club: AFC Ajax
Debut: 28 October 2014 v SV Urk (Dutch Cup)
Date of birth: 12/10/1996
Preferred foot: right
They say …
"He is so talented. I see him as a major force in the future of Ajax and Dutch football."
Ajax coach Frank de Boer
"There is interest from big clubs in Europe already – that says a lot about his talent and he's only 18. Riechedly still has a long road ahead, but it looks very good for him."
Ajax director of football Marc Overmars
"I see him as the Patrick Vieira of Ajax."
Former Ajax youth coach Fons Groenendijk
Born in Utrecht to a family from the Dutch island of Curacao (just off the coast of Venezuela), Bazoer joined PSV Eindhoven having been scouted while playing for amateur outfit USV Elinkwijk. After attracting envious glances from Premier League sides, the teenager opted to sign for Eredivisie rivals Ajax instead, in 2012. The 18-year-old made his first-team debut in the Dutch Cup on 28 October 2014 and has featured 17 times for the Godenzonen (sons of the gods) this term – scoring twice.
Playing style …
Energetic, strong and quick, he is usually deployed on the right of a 4-3-3 system, adding skill, vision, passion and bite to midfield. Along with Anwar El Ghazi, Davy Klaassen and Jairo Riedewald – and younger starlets Abdelhak Nouri, Donny van de Beek and Robert Murić – Bazoer forms part of a new golden generation emerging from Ajax's famed De Toekomst academy. Trained by a member of the 1995 UEFA Champions League-winning team, in De Boer, the teenager could also reach the pinnacle of the game.
Shades of …
He has been likened to Frank Rijkaard and Clarence Seedorf, while Bazoer models himself on former France and Arsenal FC midfielder Patrick Vieira.
Eureka moment ...
The tyro showed his technical ability and big-game temperament when striking his first league goal on 15 February. It was a timely contribution which earned Ajax a 2-1 half-time lead, from one-nil down, against FC Twente. Bazoer controlled Daley Sinkgraven's lofted pass on his chest before thrashing a wonderful left-foot volley past helpless keeper Sonny Stevens. The turnaround inspired the Dutch champions to a 4-2 home success which kept the title race alive. Bazoer registered again a month later, this time in Europe as Ukrainian side FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk ended his first UEFA Europa League campaign.
Best-case scenario …
The Ajax hierarchy are eager for him to continue his development at the Amsterdam ArenA, with the Dutch Under-19 international under contract until summer 2020. He is on the radar of several clubs in England, yet for the moment is happy where he is, explaining: "I think we can build something special together at Ajax and I want to be part of that. I can become a better player here."
He says …
"I believe in myself and I'm not afraid of anybody. [Patrick Vieira] was calm on the ball, physically strong and technically proficient. These are qualities I can also develop."