Value Tracker: Ajax and Real Madrid
The 2018-2019 Champions League Round of 16 has featured a match up of a super wealthy team vs a develop and sell team. Real Madrid, winner of 4 of the last 5 Champions Leagues vs Ajax, a team who are unable to compete on the European stage and have all their continental success in the relatively distant past. Even at the domestic league level Ajax are not all conquering as many of the recent Eredivisie seasons have belonged to PSV.
The team’s famous supply line still churns out talented players but they leave too soon to have a major impact at Ajax, and in particular Ajax in European competition. The current team features several young and highly touted players. Frenkie de Jong, a midfielder who is set to leave for Barcelona in the summer. Matthijs de Ligt, a teenage defender, who has matured into an in demand player. Hakim Ziyech who has grown into an important player. And many more complemented by the 30 years old Dusan Tadic. The Serbian is ancient in comparison to the players around him and arrived from Southampton to provide depth and class.
One such class performance was at Real and Ajax’s 4-1 at the Bernabeu can indeed be called historic. The overconfidence by players such as Sergio Ramos back fired in a big way. On February 13th with Real leading 2-1 late in the first leg in Amsterdam the Spanish international got what almost everybody agrees was an intentional yellow to rule himself out of this return match and save himself for the games to come.
He was not on the pitch to be part of this second leg humiliation.
Ajax move on and will make more noise, until the summer transfer window at least. Real will do some soul searching and solve this so called crisis by buying players and/or firing their young coach. Santiago Solari only became Real’s coach last October.
↑ Dusan Tadic and all of Ajax
↓ Sergio Ramos and all of Real Madrid