What should have been an exciting season for a young Ajax player turned to tragedy after Ajacied Abdelhak Nouri collapsed in a pre-season game

The preparations for the new season have begun, so the same cycle begins all over again. At Ajax, however, that cycle was interrupted in the most dramatic and tragic way as Ajacied Abdelhak Nouri collapsed on the field in a friendly game vs. Werder Bremen on the 8th of July. From the moment the footballer’s body touched the surface, it looked very, very serious.

Nouri was quickly transported to the nearest hospital but it didn’t prevent the 20-year-old from suffering severe and permanent brain damage.

Appie’s (as Nouri was nicknamed) brother came out a few days ago with a conclusion everyone – Ajax fan or not – feared: “The doctors are pretty sure about that he will not recover. If he would recover consciousness, Appie would not be able to think, eat, talk, walk and will probably not even recognise someone”, he added, “but we don’t give up, we believe God will decide.

It leaves you speechless and wondering why?


Nouri was a boy with the world at his feet. He was widely regarded as the next big thing coming through the famous Ajax youth academy.

Mister Ajax Sjaak Swart, shocked like everybody else, dedicated a few words to Appie: “When I looked sideways at you, I was looking forward to receiving a through ball from you. When I saw you walking at De Toekomst, cheerfully, I was looking forward to talking with you. Just that smile for a second, Amsterdammers among each other”, Swart concluded, “Appie, you are Amsterdam, you are Ajax”.

With the last sentence, Mister Ajax was spot on. From the age of 7, Appie played at Ajax and featured in all the youth teams. In 2016, Nouri made his official debut and immediately showed his tremendous potential. His passing range was so advanced and it all looked so effortless and elegant.

Unfortunately, we will never see how far Appie could’ve gone in his career. We have to accept a reality that we simply don’t want to contemplate. We don’t want to believe it and are all hoping the doctors just made a mistake, how unlikely that might be.

Ajax players and fans paid tribute to Appie and his family last week by gathering around the family’s house. It was impressive and emotional at the same time for a truly tragic story and an emotional blow for Ajax.



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