Profile of Abdelhak Nouri: Troetelkind of Ajax was hoping this year to break through
Abdelhak Nouri gold for years as the biggest talent of the toted youth academy of Ajax. This had the season of his breakthrough. But Austria decided the fate cruel otherwise.
The 20-year-old Nouri went on Saturday during the practice duel between Ajax and Werder Bremen to the ground with heart rhythm disorders. Thursday it became known that he did permanent brain damage to left.
His nickname is The King of Geuzenveld, to the neighbourhood in Amsterdam-West, where Nouri as a little boy on the street start playing football. There perfects the midfielder his sublime technique and is the basis for what until last week, a promising career seems.
In 2004, Nouri is just seven years old, he is included in the youth academy of Ajax. From the under-15, he is a regular in the youth teams of Oranje.
In January 2015, is his name for the first time among a larger public. Voetbalanalist and romantic Henk Spaan dare to the then-17-year-old midfielder to compare with the best Dutch footballer of all time. “My first impression? I immediately thought of a new Johan Cruijff.”
Nouri is with Ajax 1 on a training camp in Doha. Even with his adult teammates makes Nouri impressed with his technique, balbehandeling and insight. But also outside of the field is the small ‘Appie’ quickly loved for its lively and cheerful character. He soon becomes the troetelkind of the Arena. Always spontaneous, friendly and helpful.
But, nevertheless, the expected breakthrough remains a long time. While one after the other talent at Ajax should debut in the first team, Nouri wait. Fans of Ajax chant it regularly in his name if he is sitting on the bench; his fame is him ahead gone before.
On september 21, 2016 is the day: in the cup match against Willem II (5-0) allowed the then 19-year-old Nouri raids. With a brilliant free-kick scored in his debut, as so many great Players from the past before him.
It is followed by another fourteen matches in the first. Mostly as a substitute, or if the then coach Peter Bosz choose a bonified B-team in the KNVB cup or Europa League.
The day of Nouri with his debut for Ajax
Because in addition to his undeniable talent, there are also doubts. Is Nouri is physically suitable for the top? In modern day professional football is the civil society often dominated by the cases of Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal. The 1.70-metre-long Nouri be able to cope with such types?
He plays in the season 2016/2017 mainly for Ajax and he hit a weekly high level. Nouri being named Player of the Year in the Jupiler League. Clubs from the Premier league hope him this summer to rent it, but Nouri is resolutely. He wants to be in the Netherlands only for Ajax to play and go for his chance in the first team.
This season had to happen. Under new coach Marcel Emperor, who him last season did excel at Ajax, wants Nouri seize the chance. Davy Klaassen is sold, Lasse Schöne is no longer the youngest. With co-talent Donny van de Beek and Frenkie de Jong would Nouri to a move to the midfield are going to struggle. At least, so it seems.
During a oefenpotje of Ajax in the Lindenstadion in Hippach on a Saturday in July is everything else. Nouri plays the second half against Werder Bremen, until, in the 72nd minute, without the ball or the opponent in the vicinity, of a sudden.
Two ambulances come on the field, Nouri is resuscitated. A trauma helicopter takes him to the hospital of Innsbruck.
The messages of the first days of trickle down are cautiously hopeful. Nouri is not in danger, there is no damage to the heart. But on Thursday, 13 July appears to be the young career broken in the button. Nouri has severe and permanent brain damage by oxygen deficiency.