Andre Onana: I did not want to play Europa League final against Man United

Andre Onana has looked back extensively on Ajax’s lost Europa League final in 2017. The Cameroonian was under the bar as a very young goalie at the time, but was weighed down by the tension. And he was not the only Ajax player, he admitted.

In an interview with DAZN , Onana, 26, looked back at the lost final battle in Stockholm. Manchester United bluffed Ajax in Sweden. 

“We lost before the game was due to be played. Out of fear. We did play against Manchester United. When we arrived in Stockholm I called Edwin van der Sar, I was not feeling well. I told him I didn’t want to play.”

“Edwin replied by saying I”m too old and didn’t bring gloves, you’re going to play,” Onana recalled. The youthfulness of the Ajax players caused an unhealthy tension. “I was nineteen years old. On the morning of the game, seven players were sick. We were still very young.”

Onana remembers exactly when he realised he was on the highest podium.

He said: “I was in the players’ tunnel. David de Gea suddenly stood right behind me. Six months earlier I was still playing on the PlayStation with him. Now I played against him myself. I had also just become the number one goalkeeper.”

One of Ajax’s attackers couldn’t handle the tension either, Onana knows. 

“Amin Younes came up to me in the tunnel. He was one of the most important players we had at the time. He was shocked by the size of the arms of his direct opponent, Antonio Valencia. He said: Phew, I can’t play against him.”

Two years later, the goalkeeper was close to a rematch. In the semi-final of the Champions League, however, things went wrong against Tottenham Hotspur. He eventually left for Inter Milan , after a doping suspension and a number of clashes with the team from Amsterdam.

GBeNeFN | Tom Phillips

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