South African legend Benni McCarthy made the move to Ajax Amsterdam as a 20-year-old, and while he succeeded in the Eredivisie, what was his impression of the famous Red Light District in the city?
The striker, who scored 20 goals in 36 league games for De Godenzonen, recently spoke to FourFourTwo about his time in the Dutch capital.
"The food in Amsterdam was intriguing – I was used to my mum's amazing chicken curry. In Holland, there were dishes with names that scared me – and that was before I saw the food itself!" he revealed in the interview.
"I got used to it by programming myself to learn Dutch, out of respect to the people who were paying my wages (McCarthy speaks five languages).
"They would see me talking in their language on television, and they liked that. I'd tell any player who moves to another country that they should learn the language and learn about the culture – it will save you."
The Red Light District is one of the most famous areas in Amsterdam, where a concentration of prostitution and sex-oriented businesses such as sex shops, strip clubs, adult theaters, etc. are found. And, of course, it is also famous for being a location where smoking marijuana is legal.
"As for the Red Light District... (laughs) Fascinating," he added.
"My eyes popped out of my head looking at nearly-naked and beautiful women in the windows, who looked like they were from magazines. They were calling me! If you tried to speak to a woman in Cape Town they'd chase you away like a dog. And now these women wanted me as I stood in the street. It took me a while to get my head around that.
"Amsterdam is a very cosmopolitan city. I loved it. I would walk the streets and get lost, yet it was always a very safe place. I'd smell marijuana coming from every building. I'd never touch it, though."
Do you have any memories of Benni at Ajax Amsterdam?