Idolised alongside Johan Cruyff, the winger was an integral part of the Amsterdam side which revolutionised the game with its Total Football style
Ajax great Piet Keizer has died aged 73 following a short illness, the 33-time Eredivisie champions have confirmed.
The left winger was a one-club man and made 490 appearances for Ajax between 1961 and 1974, scoring 189 goals and establishing himself as an integral member of Rinus Michels’ celebrated Total Football teams of the late 60s and early 70s.
Keizer is fourth on Ajax’s list of all-time appearance makers behind his former team-mates Sjaak Swart and Wim Suurbier, along with Danny Blind. Only Henk Groot, Swart, the great Johan Cruyff and Piet van Reenen have more Ajax goals to their name.
Under Michels in 1971 and his successor Stefan Kovacs in 1972 and 1973 that celebrated Ajax generation reached their zenith by winning three consecutive European Cups.
Keizer played in each of the final triumphs over Panathinaikos, Inter and Juventus and was recognised as a star of the team alongside Cruyff and Johan Neeskens. His medal collection also included six Eredivisie titles, four KNVB Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and the 1972 Intercontinental Cup.
A glowing tribute posted by Ajax on their official website described how there were “two schools” of supporters at the Amsterdam club, idolising Cruyff and Keizer respectively.
Rust zacht Piet Keizer… pic.twitter.com/N8Uua0B8tP
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) February 11, 2017
“Similar contentions were among fans of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones,” it read.
Capped 34 times by his country, Keizer helped Netherlands to the final of the 1974 World Cup and scored 11 times for the Oranje.
Ajax will wear black armbands against Sparta Rotterdam in tribute to Keizer and observe a minute’s silence before Sunday’s game.