AFC Ajax have announced that Marco van Basten will return to the Amsterdam club as coach on a four-year contract when he stands down as Netherlands manager after UEFA EURO 2008™.
The 43-year-old's tenure will begin on 1 July after he agreed a deal until 2012, although both parties will evaluate the situation at the end of the 2009/10 season. He will be joined at the ArenA by his assistants with the national team, John van't Schip and Rob Witschge. As well as being former Netherlands team-mates, Van Basten and Van't Schip also coached Jong Ajax in 2003/04 before succeeding Dick Advocaat at the helm of the Oranje after the 2004 UEFA European Championship.
Under Van Basten, the Dutch qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and for UEFA EURO 2008™, where they will meet Italy, France and Romania in Group C. "Everyone at Ajax wants to become champions," said Van Basten, who scored 128 goals for Ajax – including the winner in the 1986/87 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final – before joining AC Milan in a €2.5m move. "My goals are no different from those expected of every coach at Ajax. For me, it was important to know what I could expect before taking this job. That's why we've already had several discussions about all kinds of details."
Van Basten will succeed Adrie Koster, who himself replaced Henk ten Cate following his switch to Chelsea FC earlier this season. Ajax technical director Martin van Geel said: "We're very pleased. These are three ambitious coaches with an Ajax past, who all bring with them international careers as players and the necessary experience as coaches. Furthermore, it's good that we now have clarity regarding the coaching staff for the years to come."
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