A goal involvement every game for Ajax, 100 goals and 112 assists in Eredivisie: Dusan Tadic is the foreign king of the Netherlands

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 1.11.2021.

A goal involvement every game for Ajax, 100 goals and 112 assists in Eredivisie: Dusan Tadic is the foreign king of the Netherlands

Ever exciting and a joy to watch in England with Southampton, yet Dusan Tadic wasn't as consistent as his talent deserved it whilst in the Premier League. In 2018, after a so-so season with the Saints, the Serbian playmaker had several options from top five leagues. Yet, he decided to return to the Eredivisie, where he made a name for himself. Three and a half years later, Tadic has made the club and the league his with staggering stats.

It is Tadic's fourth season in Ajax but his eight in Dutch football and the Serbian has left a golden mark on both.

Dusan Tadic's records

Recently, he joined an exclusive society of top players like Lionel Messi, Francesco Totti, Thomas Muller, Ryan Giggs, Alex, Wayne Rooney, and Frank Lampard, by getting to 100+ goals and 100+ assists in a single top 10 league in the 21st century!

Tadic recently bagged his 100th goal in the Netherlands’ top division, most of them coming at Ajax, of course. In less than three and a half seasons (as the 2019/2020 season was cut short by the Dutch government due to the pandemic) Tadic scored 58 league goals for The Lancers. Prior, on his tally, he had 14 goals for Groningen his first foreign club he joined directly from his youth club Vojvodina. Before shipping off to England, Dusan also played two years for Twente, where he bagged 28 goals.

Hence Tadic became the second Serb to score 100 or more Eredivisie goals after Mateja Kezman who stopped at 105. But Dusan isn’t particularly aiming at taking his record, his goal is greater and the veteran is primarily looking to add trophies to Ajax's already packed cabinet. 

As for the assists, Transfermarkt has him at 112 Eredivisie assists with 55 coming in the red and white shirt of the reigning champions, 29 in the mostly red shirt of Twente, and one fewer for the green Groningen.

Only the Feyenoord traditional striker Bryan Linssen has a better goalscoring tally of the active players in the Eredivisie and only by one goal. Having played in the league for 12 seasons and 317 games.

Overall Tadic played 238 games in the Dutch championship, with his return of goal involvements standing at 212. With many claiming that this Ajax team is even better than the one from three seasons ago, Tadic could even reach a goal involvement per game. As Erik Ten Hag's team is staying faithful to the Ajax mode of playing and always chasing an extra goal.

Even after banging in his 100th league goal, against PSV in a 5:0 demolition job, Tadic stressed out his and the club's hunger.

"I knew this was my 100th Eredivisie goal, but as I said before: the most important thing for me is that we keep winning. This club is never satisfied, neither am I. That's why I feel so comfortable here. The bar is always raised after every victory. Even if we win 4-0 against Dortmund and 5-0 against PSV, we still see room for improvement, we can still do much better," explained his sentiments Tadic.

A goalscorer and the creator almost equally for Ajax, no player in the league bar Hakim Ziyech (59) has had more assists for a single club than Tadic. The former Amsterdam club representative Luis Suarez (53) is the third but Tadic will most likely surface to the front this season. Possibly even before 2022 starts.

Soon to be 33-year-old is even more impressive in terms of reliability as he didn't miss a single Eredivisie match for Ajax since his 2018 €13,700,000 move from Southampton. That is, he played all 104 of the possible games in the league! He can very well take the club record from the goalkeeper Stanley Menzo who had 117 games in a row, while the league-record holder Jelle ten Rouwelaar is unreachable with 238.

"The most important thing is that you are busy with your body every day. , from your head to your toes. And I consciously say every day, because this is often underestimated. If you do it less often, you will not achieve what you can achieve," stated Tadic of his underrated professionalism.

Eredivisie and beyond

Tadic's involvement with Ajax just surpassed the mark he had at Southampton in terms of games played, as he wore the Saints' shirt 162 times. There, he had 24 goals and 35 assists, a 0,36 goal involvement rate per game. Which can be a clear indication for his deniers that what changed is the quality of the league in which the Serbian is now playing.

While that is true, Tadic has been stellar in the European competitions where he didn't have a chance to play much with the English club. For the memorable 2018/2019 campaign, Tadic was selected for the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season. In a selection not done by fans but bar UEFA's Technical Observers, with players like Kevin De Bruyne, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo keeping the Serbian company. Last campaign, Tadic made the Europa League Squad of the Season too.

While he monopolized the awards in the Netherlands. Being a part of the team of the year in 2013/2014 with Twente, as well as the two finished championships with Ajax. He was the league's top assister in five campaigns with three different teams. Whilst also sharing the Top Scorer award with Luuk de Jong in his debut season at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

The two times Serbian Player of the Year (2016 and 2019) also won the greatest individual award so far by getting the Dutch Football of the year accolade for the 2020/2021 season.

The ultimate goal and pride

Ajax's captain and Ten Hag's steel right hand on the pitch Tadic could very well aim for the record of being the highest-scoring foreigner in the Dutch division. So far, that title belongs to Hallvar Thoresen, who played during the 70s and the 80s. The Norweigan has stopped at 139 goals, meaning that Tadic has to keep going for this and at least two more seasons by his current rate.

Although in his first season with Ajax he did score 28 goals, yet now he is playing more on the wing again, rather as a false nine as he did in that campaign. This season reflects his playmaking duties more with 11 assists and five goals in 15 matches.

Yet, the Eredivisie is not his only playground. Overall, at Ajax, Tadic has perhaps been the best signing of the club in terms of on-pitch returns. In 164 games for the Dutch giants, the versatile player has scored 81 goals and made as many assists. He is quite close to a goal involvement ratio of one per game and his career is one of the most interesting to follow outside the top five leagues.

A captain and a future coach at Ajax, as was arranged during his last contract extension, Tadic has a player deal until 2024 but will remain at the club for long. Being perhaps the foreign player who has embodied the spirit of Ajax the best: a technically brilliant competitor with no mercy for his opponents and always on the hunt for a goal more, for an assist more. A trophy more. 


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