After a year in which it enchanted and nearly conquered Europe, Ajax will start a new Champions League adventure on Tuesday. In a group with Chelsea, Lille OSC and Valencia, the Amsterdammers dream of new European success, but how special would it be if they succeed? places the new Ajax on the scale of the ball of millions.

Real still financially almost seven times more powerful

With financial differences in mind, Ajax's 1-4 win at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in March is even more sensational. Real Madrid's budget had just been estimated at EUR 750 million at that time, and the Spanish superpower was proclaimed by the consulting firm Deloitte the richest club in the world. Ajax did not even reach 100 million euros at the time.

This summer, Ajax's budget increased from 90 million euros to 110 million euros, although in reality it will be even higher because the club did not yet want to count on the millions from the Champions League - the preliminaries had to be survived. With the 110 million Ajax has made a national gap to the competition (PSV follows with 78 million euros), but among the 31 other Champions League participants the national champion remains financially modest, even in the own pool with Chelsea, Lille and Valencia.

With a budget of € 506 million, Chelsea is in eighth place on the Deloitte list and the Valencia budget is estimated at € 170 million. Lille, Ajax's first opponent on Tuesday, is 110 million euros, just like the team from Amsterdam. Moreover, the Belgian champion KRC Genk (50 million euros) does not even have to spend half of Ajax's budget.

Highest budgets CL season 2019/2020

  • 1. Real Madrid - 750 million euros
  • 2. FC Barcelona - 690 million euros
  • 3. Bayern Munich - EUR 629 million
  • 4. Manchester City - EUR 568 million
  • 5. Paris Saint-Germain - 542 million euros


Summary Real Madrid-Ajax (1-4)

Ajax in terms of transfer expenses in the middle bracket

By selling mainly Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong (both for 75 million euros), Ajax had no less than 206 million euros in transfer income this summer. It is a big record for the Amsterdam club, which with 58 million euros also spent more than ever on transfers. Quincy Promes (15.7 million euros), Esdon Álvarez (15 million euros) and Razvan Marin (12.5 million euros) came for almost 'Eredivisie-unreal' amounts.

Among the other Champions League participants, the 58 million euros is good for a spot in the middle bracket. Ajax is seventeenth, just behind the Bayer Leverkusen (61 million euros) of former Ajax trainer Peter Bosz, coincidentally the club that transferred 5 million euros to the Johan Cruijff ArenA for Daley Sinkgraven.

Ajax 'group member Lille spent 84 million euros this summer, but saw the Perorian Nicolas Pépé (for 80 million euros to Arsenal) leave his top scorer. Valencia bought in for 75 million euros (including 35 million euros for former Ajax goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen), while Chelsea did not spend anything because it was not allowed to buy players this summer due to a penalty from FIFA.

Real Madrid (308 million euros) is also at the top of this list, followed by the other two Spanish top clubs: FC Barcelona (255 million euros) and Atlético Madrid (243 million euros).

At the bottom we find Eastern Block clubs such as Slavia Prague (8 million euros), Red Star Belgrade (7 million euros) and Dinamo Zagreb (4.6 million euros). It is remarkable that these clubs bought in more strongly than Champions League-holder Liverpool, which had a bizarre economical summer with 1.9 million euros. That amount went to PEC Zwolle, for seventeen-year-old Sepp van de Berg, who wonderfully enters the history books as the most expensive purchase of 'The Reds' in the summer of 2019.

CL spending transfer expenses

  • 1. Real Madrid - € 308 million
  • 2. FC Barcelona - 255 million euros
  • 3. Atlético Madrid - EUR 243 million
  • 4. Juventus - € 188 million
  • 5. Manchester City - 168 million euros
  • 13. Lille OSC - EUR 84 million
  • 14. Valencia € 75 million
  • 17. Ajax - 58 million euros
  • 31. Liverpool - 1.9 million euros
  • 32. Chelsea - nothing

Newcomers in the Ajax selection: Lisandro Martínez, Sergiño Dest, Razvan Marin and Quincy Promes. (Photo: Pro Shots)

Ajax selection is worth more than that of Lille, Lyon and Zenit

"Important players are leaving, but there will be no more than five." When the director of football affairs Marc Overmars said it several times this spring, the wish seemed a bit like the father of the thought, but he was right. In fact: with De Ligt, De Jong and Lasse Schöne, he only let three basic players go. For Ajax, the profit of the transfer summer was not so much in buying, but in retaining players like Hakim Ziyech, who said 'no' to Sevilla.

Ziyech (until 2022), Dusan Tadic (2023), David Neres (2023), Nicolás Tagliafico (2022), Noussair Mazraoui (2022) and André Onana (2022) extended their contract considerably, while their successful Champions League adventure greatly increased their value has increased. According to the renowned website, which maps the value of players worldwide, Neres now represents 45 million euros. Ziyech (40 million euros), Donny van de Beek (40 million euros) and Onana (35 million euros) are not inferior to that.

The value of the entire Ajax selection is estimated at 352 million euros. Fifteen Champions League participants have a less valuable dressing room, including the Olympique Lyon by Memphis Depay (340 million euros), FC Zenit (208 million euros) and Lille (180 million euros). The selections of Valencia (496 million euros) and Chelsea (807 million euros) are rated higher than those of Ajax.

Most valuable selection of CL participants

  • 1. Manchester City - 1.28 billion euros
  • 2. Real Madrid - 1.19 billion euros
  • 3. FC Barcelona - 1.18 billion euros
  • 4. Liverpool - € 1.07 billion
  • 5. Paris Sant-Germain - 1.06 billion euros
  • 10. Chelsea - 807 billion
  • 15. Valencia - EUR 496 million
  • 17. Ajax - 352 million euros
  • 22. Lille OSC - 180 million euros
  • 32. Slavia Prague - 37 million euros

David Neres (below, left) is estimated to be the most valuable Ajax player. (Photo: Pro Shots)

Chelsea has twice as much CL experience as Ajax

The addition of a large number of determining players also means that Ajax will start the new adventure in the ball of millions with quite a bit of Champions League experience. In years it is not too bad - the selection of Ajax is on average 23.7 years (at the beginning of last season it was 23.4), only RB Leipzig (22.7 ) , Genk (23.2) and Red Bull Salzburg (23, 6) are younger - but the selection corps of Ten Hag already have quite a few Champions League experience in their legs.

With 38 matches, Daley Blind is the most experienced Champions League player in the Ajax selection, followed by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (35) and Siem de Jong (22). Taken together, the Ajax selection comes to 197 duels in the millions ball, which is good for nineteenth place, just above Lyon (196).

It stands in stark contrast to Real Madrid (1,037) and Juventus (1,033), and group members Chelsea (347) and Valencia (259) can also rely on more experience. At Lille, the counter is stuck at 53 Champions League matches. At the bottom is the Red Bull Salzburg selection, with a total of six matches. Four of them are in the name of Maximilian Wöber, and he played them on behalf of Ajax last season.

The Austrian defender left in the winter break, after which Ajax astonished the football world and also the bookmakers against Real and Juventus. Incidentally, the same bookmakers do not take much account of the repetition of Ajax's European success: if the Ten Hag team only falls again in the semi-finals, the bet goes eighteen times, and with an Amsterdam final win 81. A bet on Liverpool (bet time four) seems more realistic.

Most CL matches per selection

  • 1. Real Madrid - 1,037 matches
  • 2. Juventus - 1,033 matches
  • 3. FC Barcelona - 868 matches
  • 4. Bayern Munich - 719 matches
  • 5. Paris Saint-Germain - 636 matches
  • 11. Chelsea - 347 games
  • 14. Valencia - 259 matches
  • 19. Ajax - 197 matches
  • 28. Lille - 53 games
  • 32. Red Bull Salzburg - 6 matches

View the group layout and the program in the Champions League