A Dutch documentary regarding Ajax, called “Daar hoorden zij engelen zingen” (There they heard angels sing), captures Chivu’s first days at Ajax magnificently. The Romanian stalwart is seen as the new rookie in the squad, faltering frequently and picking up 4 red cards in his debut season. Thankfully, that wasn’t a good indication of the remainder of his career.
Signed up from Romanian side Craiova in 1999 by Danny Blind and Jan Wouters, Chivu began his Ajax career in an unstable side. It resulted in a very up and down season for both him and the club. By the end of the season, manager Wouters was fired and Co Adriaanse arrived for a revival.
Cristian Chivu vs Vitesse pic.twitter.com/JfZ8USiCuX
— AjaxDaily Video (@ajaxdailydottv) September 5, 2017
In the following years, Chivu would grow out to be a dynamic, fearless defender for the club, being renowned for his magnificent free kicks and leadership. The fulcrum of his Ajax career was the 2002/2003 season, where he was part of the noughties dream team that reached the Champions League quarter finals, amongst players like Ibrahimovic, Maxwell, Sneijder, Van der Meyde, Van der Vaart and veteran Litmanen.
In 2003, he left the club for an adventure in the Serie A, joining AS Roma. He would go on to defend the colors of Inter, where he went on to win many league titles and a Champions League. Sadly, his further career was marred by injuries, limiting him to become a bit-part player and even wearing a rugby helmet in the latter season.
In 2014, Chivu called it quits after being tired from injury rehab. But whenever his name is mentioned in Amsterdam, eyes shine and stories are told of that one fearless captain that would drive a free kick in the top corner like no other.