Ryan Gravenberch: The Complete Midfielder

The center midfield is the most important position in football, its task is to support the defence when being attacked and create spaces searching for the last pass before scoring.

It seems that the position nowadays doesn’t get the recognition it deserves all because of the goal-scoring strikers that have been putting it on the back of the net week in and week out.

There was a time when the world’s best played in the center midfield supporting the team being the spinal column of it. A good example of an incredible and talented midfielder is Ryan Gravenberch.

The Dutch midfielder has the potential to be amongst the best in the world in the upcoming years and plays for a team like Ajax which is well-known for producing some of the best talents in world football. It’s just a matter of time before he becomes a world-class player.

The 19-year-old still has a lot in store and has already proved himself on the Champions League level, with a promising career waiting for him and his first few steps in the footballing world are worth mentioning.

Early Years

Ryan Gravenberch started his career at Zeeburgia
Ryan Gravenberch started his career at Zeeburgia

Born on the 16th of May 2002 in Amsterdam, Ryan has always been connected to football since his early days, all due to his parents Aretha and Ryan Sr who were professional football players when they were young.

He grew up alongside his brother Danzell in the city of Amsterdam where football is breathed and felt in every corner, he grew up loving Ajax and with that his dream of once playing for them.

It wasn’t until he was 8 years old that he started playing competitive football for Zeeburgia with the hopes of one day pursuing a professional career and being the best player in the world.

Less than a year after playing for Zeeburgia scouts were impressed with Ryan and his boyhood club came knocking in the door to sign him for the academy, of course, he didn’t reject the opportunity and at the early age of 8 Ryan Gravenberch started his Ajax career, a career that to this day still continues.

His goal was set once he joined the academy and it was to reach the first team, surprisingly Ryan has had one of the fastest rises through the Ajax academy, all thanks to how technically gifted he was and how well he performed playing against children 2 to 3 years older than him.

Ryan was on to become one of the world’s greatest footballers and no one was stopping him the strong and technical midfielder was on to become one of the greatest Ajax academy graduates in history.

First Team Breakthrough

He is the epitome of the saying 'if you're good enough, you're old enough'
He is the epitome of the saying ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’

Ryan was class for the academy, Ajax recognized his work, and he won the first-ever Abdelhak Nouri Trophy where the best talent coming out of the academy was recognized, but things didn’t stop there.

The same day he was awarded the trophy in honor of one of the greatest talents whose career was stopped after falling into a coma, Ryan Gravenberch was given his first professional contract with Ajax being an award for his hard work and dedication since he took his first steps.

The so-called “new Paul Pogba” made his second division debut shortly after signing his new contract at the age of 16 years old with a 5-2 win over FC Dordrecht where he played the whole of the 90 minutes of the game, and just 30 days later Erik Ten Hag brought him on the pitch against PSV making him the youngest player to debut on the Eredivisie.

On the 22nd of December 2019, the world noticed what Ryan Gravenberch was able to do. 17-year-old Ryan became the youngest goalscorer in the history of Ajax and assisted in that same game as well, it’s worth noting that it was his first start for the first team and he didn’t fail to disappoint, since then Ten Hag has considered Gravenberch as one of his best players.

The icing on the cake for a memorable 19/20 season that was cut short for Ryan Gravenberch was his awaited European debut against Getafe where although Ajax failed to qualify for the next round Ryan didn’t disappoint.

2020/21 Season

Gravenberch took the jump to Champions League football in his stride
Gravenberch took the jump to Champions League football in his stride

After an excellent finish to the season and the departure of Donny Van de Beek and Hakim Ziyech, it looked like Ryan Gravenberch was set to become a regular starter for Erik Ten Hag for the 2020/21 campaign.

Gravenberch only played one of the first three games of the season because of Covid but the only match he played was against his beloved brother Danzell who had signed for Sparta Rotterdam gifting us a brothers clash where the little brother came out victorious.

When he returned, he just didn’t stop, two consecutive assists in two games and playing all 90 minutes on various occasions gave him the confidence he needed to make a bigger step and stand up for the team, which he did.

Gravenberch finally had his Champions League opportunity playing all 6 group-stage games where he scored a wonderful goal against Midtjylland, yet it wasn’t enough to finish 2nd, and yet again Ajax was playing Europa League football for another season.

Ryan kept improving as the season progressed becoming key for Erik Ten Hag’s plans, things started to work out for him, and the best was yet to come.

An excellent season where Ryan only missed two games and played almost everything had to get its reward, and so it did because Frank De Boer gave him the opportunity to make a name for himself in one of the grandest stages of the world, Euro 2020.

International Career With the Netherlands

Euro 2020 representation ticked off another milestone in his young career
Euro 2020 representation ticked off another milestone in his young career

Ryan was a regular call-up for the younger Dutch teams, he didn’t play more than 10 matches for any of the young national teams except for the U-18s where he played 15 matches making his debut at the early age of 16, days before making his debut for Ajax.

After reaching such an achievement the path for an international cap was on and after an incredible breakthrough season with Ajax Frank De Boer called up the young midfielder for the world cup qualifiers against Turkey, Latvia, and Gibraltar, he played in the three games even playing as a right-back.

His international career doesn’t stop there because after playing his best football at Ajax his performances got rewarded with one of the biggest prizes there is, being called up to represent his country at Euro 2020.

In the tournament Gravenberch only played two of the four games but in one of those games, he played 90 minutes being helpful for the 3-0 that made The Netherlands reach the Knockout stages undefeated.

His Euro dream was cut short with the defeat against the Czech Republic but at such an early age there’s plenty more international football coming for him.

It’s no wonder that some of the world’s best clubs are interested in the young dutch midfielder, the team that has shown more interest in Gravenberch has clearly been Real Madrid.

A perfect fit for Ancelotti’s style of play, with the aging Kroos and Modric who still have some fuel left on their tank Madrid are already looking for a possible replacement, their target is clear and has a name Ryan Gravenberch.

Madrid fans have already fallen in love with the youngster and it’s no surprise that such a gifted player as Ryan Gravenberch would be a great fit for Real Madrid, imagine Mbappe, Benzema, Vinicius Jr, Courtois, and Gravenberch playing together, the newer “Galacticos” is what they should be called!

Juventus have always shown interest in Gravenberch as well. Still, after various negotiations with Ajax, it just ended there, in an almost signing for Juventus and almost joining former Ajax captain De Ligt.

English clubs are always interested in acquiring the services of a youngster, even better when they have already made their National Team debut. Jurgen Klopp has shown some love for the youngster who could be excellent for his plans after Wijnaldum’s departure and a perfect fit for Liverpool.

As with any possible signing, there’s always that team that has absurd amounts of money to try and improve a mid-table team to a Champions League team. That team as you have guessed is Newcastle United who could be a great option for Gravenberch to develop in the biggest league in the world.


When was Ryan Gravenberch born?

Ryan Gravenberch was born on the 16th of May 2002.

Is Ryan Gravenberch African?

No, Ryan was born in Amsterdam and his parents are from Suriname which is in South America.

How tall is Ryan Gravenberch?

Ryan Gravenberch’s height is 1,90 metres or 6’3’’.

Is Gravenberch a CDM?

Ryan Gravenberch can play nay centre midfield position, however, he is suited to a more attacking role, such as CAM.

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