Hakim Ziyech has hit the ground running in the Champions League this campaign with an assist for the third goal which saw Ajax defeat LOSC Lille on the first matchday at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

Ajax dominated the game which they won convincingly by three goals to none and kept the visitors on the back foot throughout the game, sending a warning to the rest of their group opponents and reminding the world of the Ajax that burst into the scene in the 2018/19 Champions League season.

Among the standout performers of that season in Ajax and in the Champions League in general was Hakim Ziyech. The Morrocan’s form surged at the right time for Ajax in the Champions League last season, scoring or assisting in each of the knockout rounds (scored and created three goals each in total for De Godenzonen).

Ziyech is arguably the most important player in the Ajax set up currently, and is a player who brings a lot more to the game than mere numbers – which we mustn’t neglect because he racks them up quite nicely. He links up well, possesses a wide passing range, great playmaking abilities, and can switch between flanks seamlessly with his runs or a perfectly weighted diagonal ball.
After a summer of transfer speculation surrounding Ziyech, he chose to stay at Ajax after weighing his options, surprising everybody. This is a mark of someone who truly wants to enjoy football and help his team. With his future secured, he has the free rein to make Ajax into his team and take them to the highest places in the Champions League.
Ziyech played a supporting role behind Dusan Tadic for most of the 2018/19 Champions League campaign but he was the biggest threat Ajax had going forward in the competition. His legs never grew tired of running and his energy was matched by his teammates who pulled their weight in an epic campaign. Yesterday, it was more of the same as Ziyech kept leading them forward into an emphatic victory.
The start versus Lille will boost his morale, and Ajax fans are in for another delight this season from the 26-year old.