Donny Van De Beek
Born inÂ Nijkerkerveen, van de Beek joined theÂ Ajax academyÂ in 2008. In 2015, he made his competitive debut for the club in aÂ Europa LeagueÂ match against Scottish clubÂ Celtic. In theÂ 2016â€“17 season,Â AjaxÂ progressed to theÂ UEFA Europa League Final, but lost to Manchester United. During theÂ 2017â€“18 season, Van de Beek established himself as a key play in Ajax’s starting eleven. Following theÂ 2018â€“19 campaign, in which Ajax reached the semi-finals of theÂ UEFA Champions League, Van de Beek was listed among the 30-man shortlist for theÂ Ballon d’Or. With Ajax, he won theÂ EredivisieÂ title,Â KNVB CupÂ andÂ Johan Cruyff Shield.
In international football, Van de Beek has represented theÂ NetherlandsÂ at the youth level. On 14 November 2017, he made his senior international debut againstÂ Romania. In 2019, he was part of theÂ squadÂ that reached the first everÂ UEFA Nations League Final, but lost toÂ Portugal.
van de Beek began his career as a boy with the local Veensche Boys’ academy where his father, Andre, once played.Â In August 2014, he joined theÂ AjaxÂ youth academy signing a three-year contract,Â and was assigned to the D-team. He progressed further through the academy and featured in the A1 team Supercup victory against theÂ FeyenoordÂ A1 team.Â On 27 January 2015, he signed a contract extension, to keep him at the club until mid-2018.
Van de Beek made his debut forÂ Jong AjaxÂ (the Ajax reserve team) in theÂ Eerste DivisieÂ againstÂ Sparta RotterdamÂ in January 2015.Â Two months later, managerÂ Frank de BoerÂ called him to the senior team for a league match againstÂ ADO Den HaagÂ as an injury replacement.Â However, he was an unused substitute in that match.Â At the end of the 2014â€“15 season, he won theÂ AFC Ajax Talent of the FutureÂ award.
In November 2015, Van de Beek was called to the senior team for aÂ UEFA Europa LeagueÂ match against Scottish clubÂ Celtic.Â He made his European debut in the match, which Ajax won 2â€“1.Â He termed his debut as “beautiful” and added: “I have taken my duels well. It was of course difficult because the game went back and forth continuously. But I think I did fine.”Â Three days later, Van de Beek made his first team debut in a 2â€“0 league victory againstÂ PEC Zwolle.Â In the following month, he scored his first goal for Ajax in a 1â€“1 draw against Norwegian clubÂ Molde FK.Â As he scored the goal, his head collided with opposition playerÂ Joona Toivio‘s causing his left eyebrow to bleed.Â Commenting on the goal, he said that he would not soon forget it.Â The goal also won him the club’s Goal of the Month award.
Voetbal InternationalÂ reported in January 2016 that manager De Boer was impressed by Van de Beek and said he would continue to play with the first team “until further notice”.Â After the departures ofÂ John HeitingaÂ andÂ Yaya Sanogo, he was officially promoted to the first team on 16 February.Â Media reports in March suggested that German clubÂ Bayern MunichÂ was interested in signing him.Â By the end of the 2015â€“16 season, he cemented his position with the first team, and was also playing regularly for the Ajax under-19 team in theÂ UEFA Youth League.Â Spanish newspaperÂ Mundo DeportivoÂ reported thatÂ BarcelonaÂ was considering options to secure his services.
At the beginning of the 2016â€“17 season, new managerÂ Peter BoszÂ included Van de Beek in the Ajax squad for theÂ UEFA Champions LeagueÂ qualification match against Greek clubÂ PAOKÂ for a couple of reasons: Bosz was impressed by Van de Beek’s performance during pre-season friendlies in Austria,Â Riechedly BazoerÂ was injured andÂ Nemanja GudeljÂ was suspended.Â On 26 July, he made his Champions League debut against PAOK, starting in the 1â€“1 draw.Â While playing for the reserves during the season he andÂ Abdelhak NouriÂ were the only players who were given more than a seven rating on average byÂ Voetbal International.Â In November, he was included in the UEFA Europa League Team of the Week for his performance againstÂ Panathinaikos. He was a part of a midfield trio with Nouri andÂ Lasse SchÃ¶ne.Â In April 2017, theÂ Daily ExpressÂ reported that Barcelona and Bayern Munich were scouting Van de Beek.Â Van de Beek replaced SchÃ¶ne in the 70th minute of theÂ Europa League finalÂ againstÂ Manchester United, with Ajax losing the match 2â€“0.
Commenting on Van de Beek’s 2017â€“18 pre-season matches, the Dutch newspaperÂ Algemeen DagbladÂ wrote that he had successfully filled the void created by the departure ofÂ Davy KlaassenÂ who had recently moved to English clubÂ Everton.Â In October, English clubÂ Tottenham HotspurÂ scouted him in the Netherlands.Â He scored a goal in both legs of the Champions League qualifier against French clubÂ Nice. In the first leg, he scored an equaliser in the 36th minute of the 1â€“1 draw; taking an advantage of an error made by opposition goalkeeperÂ Yoan Cardinale.Â In the second leg, he found the net in the first half of the 2â€“2 draw.Â On 18 November, Van de Beek scored a hat-trick in an 8â€“0 league victory againstÂ NAC Breda.Â AjaxÂ captainÂ JoÃ«l VeltmanÂ hailed the feat as “extra nice”.Â He featured 34 times in the league and scored 11 times, besides adding six assists. In July 2018, he rejected an offer made by Italian clubÂ RomaÂ citing that “Ajax is the right place for his development”.
Van de Beek played a pivotal role as the attacking midfielder for Ajax in the 2018âˆ’19 season, starting almost every match in all competitions, as the team won their first league title in five years and surprisingly qualified for the semi-final of theÂ 2018â€“19 UEFA Champions League. Van de Beek scored againstÂ JuventusÂ on 16 April in the second leg of the quarter-final to help his team knock out the Italian champion with a 3â€“2 on aggregate. On 7 May, he scored against Tottenham Hotspur in the first leg of the semiâˆ’final which resulted in a 1âˆ’0 away victory for Ajax. Nonetheless, Ajax did not manage to advance to the final, losing the tie on away goals after a 2âˆ’3 defeat at home. In the 2019â€“20 Champions League season, Van de Beek scored againstÂ ValenciaÂ in a 3â€“0 away win, andÂ ChelseaÂ in a 4â€“4 draw; however, Ajax lost 1â€“0 at home to Valencia to be eliminated from the group stage.
On 30 August 2020, Ajax reached an agreement with English Premier League clubÂ Manchester UnitedÂ for the transfer of Van de Beek.Â The transfer was completed on 2 September 2020, with Van de Beek signing a five-year contract for a reported Â£35Â million, plus Â£5Â million in add-ons.Â Van de Beek chose to wear the number 34 jersey as a tribute to former Ajax teammateÂ Abdelhak Nouri, who collapsed during a friendly in 2017 and went into an induced coma.
On 11 September 2013, Van de Beek made his debut for theÂ Netherlands under-17Â team againstÂ Germany.Â He was part of the squad that managed to reach the final of theÂ 2014 UEFA European Under-17 ChampionshipÂ after defeatingÂ ScotlandÂ in the semifinal.Â However, they finished runners-up toÂ England.
On 14 November 2017, Van de Beek made his senior international debut againstÂ RomaniaÂ in a friendly match.Â He appeared in both games in theÂ 2019 UEFA Nations League FinalsÂ as a substitute, as the Netherlands defeatedÂ EnglandÂ 3âˆ’1 but lost toÂ PortugalÂ in the final 1âˆ’0.
Style of play
At Ajax, Van de Beek played as aÂ central midfielder. The Spanish newspaperÂ Mundo DeportivoÂ writes that he plays a more offensive role compared to his counterparts on other teams.Â According to former Ajax manager Frank de Boer, Van de Beek plays best at the number six position (central midfield position).Â Goal.comÂ described Van de Beek as a player who has “excellent control and a great eye for a pass as he links up with the attack and is dangerous as he makes runs into the box”.Â While playing for the Ajax academy, he was compared withÂ Davy Klaassen. However, Van de Beek rejected the comparison and said that he was a player who wanted to keep the ball at his feet.Â Ajax captain JoÃ«l Veltman described Van de Beek as a player who “works very hard and can play between the lines”.
Donny van de Beek’s parents are AndrÃ© and Gerdina van de Beek.Â AndrÃ© is a supporter ofÂ AjaxÂ and took Donny to their stadium at the age of five.Â Donny’s younger brother Rody plays for Veensche Boys.
Donny Van De Beek