When discussing some of the action from this season’s remarkable Champions League campaign, ‘unmissable’ would probably be the most accurate way of describing it.
However, one Dutch footballer and Ajax fan has taken that too literally and ultimately it has cost him his contract at his club.
Jordie van der Laan, formerly of Dutch second tier side Telstar, had his contract at the club terminated after reportedly skipping training to watch the first leg of the semi-final between Ajax and Tottenham in London.
“I called in sick because I was convinced that I would not get free from the training.” van der Laan told Dutch media.
After getting a ticket for the match through a friend, the 25-year-old striker decided to make the trip to the brand new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Van der Laan claimed that his decision was based on the fact he was unlikely to be selected for the club’s final match against Jong PSV and that the club had nothing left to play for.
“With this decision I had taken into account that Telstar were no longer playing for anything and I, given the number of playing minutes in the recent period, had only a small chance of playing against Jong PSV.
“In any other case, I definitely would not have gone to London.”
His club were nonetheless unimpressed with technical director Piet Buter claiming the player had ‘fooled’ the club.
"He called in sick. After one or two days you have to report to the club. But he said: ‘I can't, I have an appointment with my doctor’. The next day didn't work either, because he had a fever then," Buter told NH Sport.
"He has fooled the technical staff and the players' group. It is a serious offence. If everyone calls in sick or goes on holiday, that is a wrong signal."
Van der Laan’s ruse was uncovered when a trainer at the club intended to pay him a visit, at which point the player was forced to come clean.
The fugitive player was reportedly spotted at the match on TV, which meant neither Van der Laan nor Telstar could keep the issue in-house.
“I still stated before the Champions League match that I was not sick and was in London. So it wasn't that people from the club were surprised to recognise me on TV. At that moment they were already informed,” he added.
“Incidentally, it is still funny that I appeared three times with my big head.”
Following discussions between the two parties, it was decided that the player’s contract be terminated by mutual consent.
Van der Laan is now preparing to attend the second leg match at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam, with the home side leading 1-0 from the first leg.
Tweeting ahead of the game, the now unattached star declared he was now ‘free’.
Dutch journalist Menno Pot came to his aid, offering a free ticket in return for a round of beer.
Ik verdien nu toch wel een kaartje voor de wedstrijd van woensdag? Ben tenslotte toch vrij. 🤐
— Jordie van der Laan (@JordievdLaan) May 6, 2019
Hey @JordievdLaan, dit is een serieus bericht.
Ik heb een kaart over voor #ajatot. Wil je mee?
Prijs: een rondje bier voor mij en mijn drie vrienden (wel grote graag).
Ik herhaal: geen geintje, serieus bericht.#Ajaxhttps://t.co/EwDQCXYWbL
— Menno Pot (@mennopot) May 6, 2019
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