The former Nigeria international played a crucial role as the Dutch giants reached the finals of the UEFA Champions League in quick succession
Still, he was allowed to leave Amsterdam unceremoniously after his relationship with his club boss took a hit.
George Finidi has revealed that he decided to leave Ajax after manager Luis van Gaal took offence regarding some of the Nigerian wingers’ comments after the 1996 UEFA Champions League final defeat to Juventus.
A vital component of the Ajax side that conquered Europe in 1995, Finidi was equally instrumental as the Eredivisie side yet again reached the final of Europe’s premier club competition.
Already regarded as one of the world’s best wingers, Finidi was the subject of interests from some of the continent’s biggest clubs.
And when journalists asked him whether he was looking to leave the Netherlands, the former Sharks star refused to lock the door on a potential move.
His response, however, didn’t sit down well with the Dutch manager who, in turn, told the player to leave or be frozen out of the first team as the club was already planning to bring in his replacement.
“I wanted to leave because Van Gaal told me that I was not going to play anymore because of some of my statements after the Champions League final,” Finidi told Radio Marca Sevilla as per DiariodeSevilla.
“The press asked me after the final if it was my last game, and I said anything could happen … Then Van Gaal called me at his office and said he didn’t like that, he said they were moving chips to bring in another player, who was Babangida.
“In the end, I thought I had to get out of there because I didn’t want to sit on the bench just because of him.
“Now looking back, I think he wanted to kick me out, Ajax also needed the money, and it was the way to push me out.”
Finidi moved to Real Betis that summer and later starred for Mallorca and Ipswich Town before calling time on his football career.