Ricardo Kishna was once considered the greatest hope of Ajax Amsterdam. But then pretty much everything that can go wrong went wrong. Today he is 27 years old and without a club.
Ricardo Kishna is from the future. Or in Dutch “De Toekomst”, as the famous youth academy of Ajax Amsterdam is called. A number of football legends started their world careers here, and in 2014 Kishna made the leap from the future to the pros. He was 19 at the time and was considered the greatest hope of his time at Ajax.
A fabulously talented left winger. Tricky, lightning fast, creative, also a goal threat. Of course junior internationals. “He was the most talented player I’ve ever played with,” said Union Berlin’s Sheraldo Becker SPOX and GOAL, the two know each other from the Ajax offspring. “He was like Di Maria with Neymar’s technique and also really fast.”
Kishna is now 27 years old. But he is not as famous as Angel di Maria or Neymar. He’s had far, far too much bad luck in his career so far. Bad luck with decisions, bad luck with his body, bad luck with his head. operations, depression. From the future to hell. Most recently, Kishna played for the Dutch second division club ADO Den Haag, and he is currently without a club.
Ricardo Kishna: Breakthrough at Ajax, move to Lazio
At first everything went according to plan. Kishna scored directly on his league debut for Ajax and became a regular in his first full season with the pros in 2014/15. Coach Frank de Boer initially encouraged him, but it soon became apparent that the later Bonds coach and the quite argumentative youngster do not fit together on a personal level.
Because Kishna allegedly warmed up too laxly in a Europa League game, de Boer suspended him. “If that’s actually the reason: ridiculous,” said his advisor at the time, the late Mino Raiola. Kishna himself suspected that “Frank de Boer has problems with players who don’t fit his ideal of the perfect son-in-law”.
The opinion in the Netherlands about Kishna slowly turned, a hopeful child became a problem child. “The fact that I’m seen in such a negative way certainly has something to do with myself,” Kishna stated in reflection. “But where two argue, two are to blame.” Kishna left the dispute behind and joined Lazio Rome in 2015 for a relatively paltry three million euros.
The supposed escape was not well received in his homeland. “I expected to be criticized,” said Kishna. “But I was surprised that my election would provoke so many negative reactions.”
Ricardo Kishna at Lazio: Two goals, more injuries
After the criticism was before the criticism, the next followed for his shirt number choice at Lazio: 88. In right-wing extremist circles, a reference to the eighth letter of the alphabet. HH. Abbreviation for “Heil Hitler”. Problematic. And even more problematic at a club like Lazio, notorious for its far-right supporters. By his own admission, Kishna had no idea of any of this. Actually, he wanted the 8th because it was taken, it was the 88th.
After all, the start was successful on the pitch. As he did for Ajax, Kishna scored for Lazio on his league debut. He has “shed the negative charges” from the Netherlands and can finally play football again “with an unrestrained and free feeling”. But not for long. He was only to score one more goal for Lazio before he had his regular place in the hospital. Sometimes the knee, sometimes the thigh. In between, another flu infection.
Lazio soon had no use for Kishna. First they loaned him to OSC Lille in France for half a year, then to ADO Den Haag in his hometown. This is where he once learned to play football before Ajax lured him into the future.
Ricardo Kishna talks about his panic attacks
He managed an assist on matchday one and against Ajax on matchday two. Actually, Kishna really wanted to show his former club. Instead, he tore his cruciate ligament and was out for over three years. Over three years! Kishna fell into oblivion, but in November 2020 he actually managed to make a comeback for ADO.
A little later he sat down on the TV show by ex-national player Andy van der Meijde and talked. About how his serious injury became the starting point for panic attacks and depression. “The low point was that I thought: If this continues like this, I don’t want to be there anymore,” said Kishna.
“I went to Germany to have my head, my heart, my lungs, everything scanned. I went totally crazy. I thought: I have a tumor in my head. Or: I’m having a heart attack,” said Kishna. He then consulted a psychologist who eventually diagnosed him with panic attacks. “I said, ‘No, you’re crazy, I’m feeling things here.’ He then gave me a list of 50 symptoms and I had 38.”
Kishna was given medication, she couldn’t do without it anymore. “I had to take them to get through my day. I felt like I was dying. Every night when I was in bed I didn’t dare to close my eyes because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get up again . I was totally freaked out and lost. I didn’t want to kill myself, but I was like, I can’t live with this anymore.”
Ricardo Kishna: ADO Den Haag
He achieved personal resurrection thanks to his wife, who “remained positive and calm.” Thanks to his hometown club ADO, who signed him firmly in the middle of this difficult situation. And thanks to a landmark vacation to Los Angeles. “We were just joking and I got back into a normal rhythm. That was the turning point for me.”
Half a year after his long-awaited comeback, the next blow to the neck followed, even a double one. ADO was relegated from the Eredivisie in 2021, Kishna suffered from a severe corona infection. He had to pass for weeks, but he survived that too.
Last season, Kishna completed more competitive minutes than ever before. The resurgence with ADO failed and Kishna suggested a contract extension in the spring. He was attracted to “an adventure abroad,” he said weeks ago. In the meantime, however, there are many indications that ADO will remain. The transfer window is closed and Kishna has been back training with ADO for a week and is expected to sign a new contract soon.
Ricardo Kishna’s performance data
|2016/17||Lazio Rome v OSC Lille||18||–||–|
|2017/18||ADO The Hague||2||–||1|
|2018/19||ADO The Hague||–||–||–|
|2019/20||ADO The Hague||–||–||–|
|2020/21||ADO The Hague||16||–||–|
|2021/22||ADO The Hague||26||4||11|