Going from reserve league football in England to the continent’s premier club competition has been a surreal experience for the Nigeria international
Ajax Amsterdam defender Calvin Bassey has described his UEFA Champions League debut as an unforgettable experience for him and his family.
Bassey, however, concedes that it was also a bittersweet episode as he made his first appearance in the prestigious competition against his former club.
The Nigeria international produced a flawless performance on Wednesday night to guide Ajax Amsterdam to a 4-0 win over Glasgow Rangers in their opening group-stage match.
Last season, the 22-year-old was on the payroll of the Scottish giants, helping them reach the final of the UEFA Europa League.
Having completed a summer switch to Eredivisie champions Ajax, Bassey was still pleased that his former club also made it to Europe’s number-one club competition.
Picking the first win against his former teammates, however, left a bittersweet taste in Bassey’s mouth.
“It’s one I’ll never forget,” Bassey told Ajax TV.
“Obviously, it was against my old club, but at the same time it was a special night for me.
“It was bittersweet because it was against my old team.
“But on a personal note, it was an amazing achievement for me and my family.
“It’s amazing because last season we spoke about Champions League and how good…we had the Europa run so it was like the Champions League was the next step.
“So it was nice to see both of us; even though I had moved on, we were still both in the Champions League and got to that step.
“It was nice to see familiar faces, but once you cross that line on the pitch, it’s go time.”
Bassey has also detailed how he has no plans to give any fan, friend, or family the jersey he wore on his first Champions League night.