The last time Madrid lost to Ajax was on November 22, 1995, when the current president of the Dutch club, Edwin Van der Sar, was the goalkeeper, and in Chamartín they still dreamed of the chimera of the Seventh. Since then, almost everything has changed. Also the rules of competition and awards of the UEFA, which has ended by pushing clubs like Ajax to marginal corners. In the present century Madrid has faced Ajax six times with a result of six wins, 20 goals in favor and two against.
Today, in the return of the knockout stages of the Champions League (Movistar Champions League, 21.00 hours), the team that leads De Jong is presented as the most favorable rival for the consolidation of the Real.
Nothing better characterizes reliable equipment than continuity in performance. Madrid must only reach its standards of the last month to enjoy an advantage in the double duel that awaits. Considering the recent past, the task is not simple. If there is a merit to attribute to Solari, it is to have endowed the team with an order that allows it to stick to a protocol. "I aspire to make a match as serious as we did three days ago [en el Wanda]"Said the technician at the Cruyff Arena conference. "Soccer is built day by day".
Last summer, the sale of Cristiano - the most regular of the players - forced Madrid to rebuild with a squad of notorious irregularity. Only Benzema - the least individualistic of the irregulars - survives Solari's pruning. It remains to be determined if before the Ajax the coach will maintain his bet for Reguilón, Vázquez and Vinicius to the detriment of Bale and Marcelo.
If Madrid needed a springboard to gain momentum, Ajax offers the best conditions among the 15 possible opponents. The team of Ten Hag presents a healthy mix of veterans like Blind and Huntelaar, with young people of great projection like De Beek, De Jong and De Ligt. All people capable of playing virtuous, daring and energetic football, as well as incurring gaps in concentration. They are unpredictable for good and bad.
They have suffered two unexpected defeats in the Dutch League, 6-2 against Feyenoord and 1-0 against the tiny Heracles, and doubts about the physical condition of several of their best players, in the case of De Jong, are rampant.