Van Basten steps down as Ajax coach

Former Netherlands striker Marco Van Basten has resigned as Ajax Amsterdam coach, the Dutch club said in a statement today.

"The main reason for Van Basten resigning was he concluded that he didn't meet his goals and he doesn't have the feeling he is capable of improving next season," the club said.



Assistant coach John van't Schip will take over from his former team mate until the end of the season.



The 44-year-old Van Basten, who will hold a news conference at 1500 GMT on Wednesday, joined Ajax in July 2008 after a four-year spell as coach of the Dutch national team.



He had signed a four-year deal to take over from Adrie Koster who succeeded Henk ten Cate on a temporary basis.



Despite investing about 35 million euros ($46.60 million) in their squad, Ajax will finish the season third behind champions AZ Alkmaar and Twente Enschede in the Dutch league.



The club also suffered an early exit from the Dutch Cup, while Olympique Marseille beat the four times European Cup winners in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup.





THIRD SPELL



Van Basten's period as manager was his third spell at the Amsterdam club where he began his playing career in 1981 and remained until 1987 when he joined AC Milan.



He scored 151 goals in 172 games for Ajax, winning the Dutch title several times as well as the league and cup double in 1983 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1987.



After a trophy-laden career, including two European Cups with AC Milan and a European Championship, Van Basten retired from playing in 1995 at 28 after a series of ankle operations.



He rejoined Ajax in 2000 as youth coach.



In 2004 the former European and World Player of the Year succeeded Dick Advocaat as Netherlands coach.



His Dutch team were eliminated by Portugal in the first knockout round at the 2006 World Cup, while Russia beat them in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.



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