Jari Litmanen 2002 - 2004
2002 Jari Litmanen returned to Amsterdam Arena, the Ajax home pitch where he first became a living legend for many Ajax fans and well known name in the European football community. He signed a 1 year contract with 1 optional year. The negotiations started badly when Ajax refused to offer a proper salary for Jari, who was quoted saying that the salary was an insult and even a reserve team player would receive the same amount. The 2002 year for although he had minor injuries he was beginning to establish his position in the opening line-up and in the end of season 2002-03 he had scored five goals for Ajax. More importantly he set an example for young Ajax players like Rafael Van der Vaart who considers him an role model.
The club decided to use the option for 2003 but he ended up playing most of the games in the reserves due to many injuries. The season was a personal disappointment for Jari and although they are playing well in the Eredivisie the failure in Champions League was indication that something had to change. The Ajax coach Ronald Koeman, former Holland and Barcelona star, and Jari had reportedly sour relationship due to the fact that Jari was injured a lot.
2004 happened what the Finnish press (apart from Urheilulehti) had anticipated: Jari was ready to return to Finland. Although many first level teams were after him he decided to return to his hometown of Lahti. Important factor in the transfer to FC Lahti and Finland was Jari's close friend and mentor Harri "Hape" Kampman, the current coach of FC Lahti
Remains to be seen is Jari Litmanen
still the magical and overwhelming
footballer he was, compared to other Finn
s, when he over decade ago first left for Ajax
2004 - 2005
After the end of Finnish
Premier League Veikkausliiga
Litmanen joined German Bundesliga
outfit Hansa Rostock
during January 2005. At the time of writing Hansa
is in the position of beeing relegated. So far the season in Hansa Rostock has been difficult. Track record for this season no goals scored and the team hasn't been able to turn around from the slump they had during autumn 2004.