The first time that Erik ten Hag, coach of Ajax Amsterdam, placed on the team Hakim Ziyech and Dusan Tadic observed a complicity superior to the usual between two players who play similar positions. The preparer, who raises in the Dutch team a 4-3-3, decided then to dispense with the figure of the center forward to place the two midfielders in the attack of his team. He sat the young man Kasper Dolberg, a promise of Danish football, and relegated to the background the player with the longest run of his squad, Jan-Klaas Huntelaar. The two hitches gave them full freedom to move and connect up front.
The European tie against Madrid confirmed the commitment of Ten Hag to play without a striker as a resounding success. The coach prioritizes the figure of Tadic as false nine, a technical player, sacrificed, with goal and vision of the game. The technician places the Brazilian Neres on the left wing, Ziyech on the right, and leaves the Serbian as a free verse of his attack. Its less showy function, to lead the intense pressure that Ajax executes.
In the Bernabéu, Tadic and his partners were in charge of undressing the Real in the most glorious night of his career. The three uncorked in an appointment that encumbró to the Serbian, a stranger of 30 years between the novice staff ajacied -The average age of Ajax is 24.1 this season- which produced the first two goals of the Dutch and became the third to consummate the biggest setback in the recent history of Madrid in the Champions League.
"This is probably the game I've played best in my life, we've won the best club in the world, I'm very proud and I think we've made a lot of people happy, in football what you have to do is relax and enjoy the game ", declared Tadic after the historic feat in Chamartín.
The Serbian, international with Serbia on 61 occasions (35 officials), had never been seen in another match. Until this summer, when Marc Overmars, sports director of Ajax, opted for his signing and joined him after paying more than 12 million euros to Southampton, he did not know what it was like to play in the Champions League. Two phases of groups of the Europa League, one with the Twente Dutch and another with the English team, were all their baggage in continental competitions.
The posts and the lack of tino deprived him of the goal in the Johan Cruyff Arena. It would not happen like that at the Bernabéu. His first decisive action of the night took place seven minutes into the game. Tadic swiped the ball to Kroos in the right profile of the attack and found space to run. He put Nacho in, raised his head and saw Ziyech, his best partner. He gave it back and the Moroccan international celebrated the first uncork of Ajax.
The first assistance preceded a fantasy move that would culminate Neres. The Serb received the ball again heeled on the right side. He went to the center and resorted to a roulette to leave behind Casemiro, advanced a few meters and served the Brazilian, who ahead of Modric and burst into the center of the attack from the left side. "Maybe I've seen too many videos of Zinedine Zidane, he was always my favorite player," Tadic said when asked about the technical resource, the most characteristic maneuver of the ex-player and ex-coach of Madrid.
Pass by the Premier
But his task was incomplete. The midfielder still kept the last one, a zapatazo to the right square of Courtois that supposed the 0-3 and knocked down Real, incapable to control to him. It was his sixth goal in the competition, the 26th of a season in which he also has 15 assists. I had never reached similar records before. Only in his two courses at Twente, who signed him from Groningen, his first team in Holland, which he reached in 2010 with 22 years since Vojvodina, the club where he was trained in Serbia, approached his current numbers: 16 goals and 18 assists on average.
In the summer of 2014, the Premier knocked on his door. Southampton paid Twente 14 million euros for its contract. Its passage by England did not finish supposing a takeoff in its race. Tadic did not make much noise when he passed through Southampton, where he offered a performance lower than the one he had promoted in Dutch football. In four years he averaged six goals and nearly nine goal passes per season. Diminished his cache, the Balkan, fascinated by the quality of life offered by the Netherlands, did not hesitate when he received the proposal from Ajax, which made him the third most expensive signing in its history.
At age 30, back to the territory that catapulted him five years ago, Tadic became one of the leaders of a wardrobe full of teenagers who call the attention of the powerful, as De Jong, already incorporated by Barcelona, or De Ligt, designated this year as the best young man in the world.
This Tuesday, the Serbian hook, a silent player, out of the spotlight throughout his career, knocked down Madrid with a genius roulette and a goal flag. The Ajax reached the glory of the hand of Tadic, an unknown veteran reconverted to false nine that surprised Europe and burned Chamartín.