The Champions League is a private gathering of the best, and Ajax used to be nonpareils. They reinvented football while winning three consecutive European Cups in the 1970s. They provided the best advertisement for an academy and a passing philosophy in the 1990s. In 2012, however, the great believers in youth appeared an excuse for nostalgia. The modern-day Ajax, it seemed, were destined to be admired for their ethos but pitied for their points tally.