Edwin van der Sar has spoken to AFP ahead of Ajax's Champions League game against Real Madrid, but he also commented on Barcelona's recent signing of Frenkie de Jong.
Midfielder De Jong, 21, will leave Ajax at the end of the season and will head to Camp Nou in a deal worth an initial 75 million euros.
While he's sad to see talent like De Jong leave, former goalkeeper van der Sar, now Ajax's chief executive, says it's the reality which the Dutch club must live in.
"You want to build your own team for the highest level and that happens more with teams that stay together," he said.
"But we are in a smaller league, we know there are bigger clubs. When a player like Frenkie goes to Barcelona, it has not come easy. He has done it with the help of coaches here and the people here too. That is why we are proud."
In addition, van der Sar compared De Jong to two midfielders already at the top of the game: "He reminds me a bit of Isco at Real Madrid, that low centre of gravity, and even Eden Hazard, the way he dribbles and tries to beat people. Frenkie does that too, but through midfield."
Defender Matthijs de Ligt, it seems, will be the next to leave the club and van der Sar recognises that Barça could have an advantage due to their relationship with Ajax.
"The relationship with Barcelona is excellent," he added. "[Barcelona president] Josep [Maria] Bartomeu says that Barca is the son and Ajax the father -- but the son has maybe outgrown the father now. The son is 18 and we can't lift him anymore."