Litmanen leaving Ajax early

AFC Ajax have parted company with Finland striker Jari Litmanen, but have not ruled out a "future co-operation".

AFC Ajax have parted company with Finland striker Jari Litmanen with immediate affect.

Starting again
The 33-year-old had been told last month that his contract would not be renewed in the summer after a number of injury problems. However, the runaway leaders in the Netherlands have agreed to release him early to help him find a new club as soon as possible.

Final farewell
The club also added "a future co-operation between Jari Litmanen and Ajax in another function at the club remains still possible". Ajax are also examining ways of ensuring that Litmanen is given a suitable send-off in front of the Ajax fans.

Plenty of success
Ajax general manager Arie van Eijden said: "We regret that we have to part with Jari, but unfortunately physical problems in the last two years have not allowed him to fulfil everyone's hopes." Litmanen has achieved much in his two spells with Ajax, either side of his spells at FC Barcelona and Liverpool FC between 1999 and 2002, including four Eredivisie titles and three Dutch Cups.

Scoring return
His most successful year was 1995, when he helped the Amsterdam club to the domestic championship, the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the European/South American Cup. Litmanen made his long-awaited return from injury for Finland last week, scoring in the 2-1 friendly victory against Malta, after shaking off an ankle problem.