After being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Juventus, if we’re honest with ourselves, few but the most romantic football fans would have dreamed that Ajax might still progress beyond the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Even more so when Cristiano Ronaldo, the leading scorer in the history of the competition, fired the Turin side ahead in the return leg.
Ajax comfortable with status of betting underdogs
Nevertheless, this Ajax side packed with precocious and lively talent did exactly that, making a comeback against Juventus that proved their previous demolition of Real Madrid, in the Spanish capital no less, was by no means a fluke. This was another thoroughly deserved victory that most likely upset the bookmakers, but at the same time, delighted travelling fans of the side from Amsterdam and those who backed the Dutchmen to win.
Having claimed two huge continental scalps in the knock-out stages of the tournament, even though the odds have inevitably shortened somewhat for Ajax to win the Champions League, it could still be worth browsing the prices on offer, and perhaps using Betfred free bets offer to claim a £30 free bet when betting £10 or more. At this stage and prior to the semi-final draw, anything is still possible, and the team managed by Erik ten Hag could still complete what was previously thought of as an impossible dream.
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) April 16, 2019
Don’t bet against Ajax achieving the treble
The achievement of this Ajax team reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League is not to be taken lightly. Despite being neck and neck with PSV Eindhoven on points at the top of the Eredivisie, Ajax have scored a phenomenal 106 goals after 30 games, with four games left to decide the title. They’ve also made it to the KNVB Cup final, so are still on course to achieve the Dutch double of silverware. Add the chance of adding the Champions League for a spectacular treble,
The current crop of talented youngsters has everyone passionate about football talking about them, which includes fans of other teams, just as much as those from the side from the Netherlands. Not without a hint of sadness, this is a point raised by The Telegraph in a love letter to Ajax, cherishing the quality of football the team plays while at the same time lamenting that it won’t last.
Before too long, even as soon as the summer transfer window, the best and brightest prospects could be taken from the historic Dutch club. Ajax will of course hold out for the best prices they can get, but that’s the limit of any resistance they can offer – especially when the wealthiest clubs elsewhere in Europe come calling.
❌❌❌ Captain. Leader. Goalscorer.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 16, 2019
Barcelona to come calling for de Ligt?
The scorer of the winning goal in Turin against Juventus, 19-year-old Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, has regularly been linked with a potential move to Barcelona, amongst other destinations. His current teammate Frenkie de Jong has already agreed a switch to the Camp Nou, costing the Spanish side £65 million, once the current season ends.
Such an accomplished player already for his tender age, few eyebrows would be raised if de Ligt was tempted to follow suit, given the stratospheric salary and benefits he’d be offered. Likewise, the opportunity to not only jump straight into the Barcelona side, but also be the long-term replacement for Gerard Pique.
Donny van de Beck, who scored the equalising goal in Turin, also has plenty of admirers ready to move this summer. The potent and seemingly complete-package midfielder, still just 21, will certainly rank highly in the ‘to buy’ list of the biggest clubs on the continent, and in the Premier League. Already touted as one of the most exciting forwards in European football, 21-year-old Danish striker Kasper Dolberg could also be lured away from the Johan Cruyff Arena, should the right offer come along.
📝 David Neres and Donny van de Beek
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) April 16, 2019
Split-up of Ajax stars inevitable
Fans of Ajax and even those in the know at the club itself, are already resigned to this exciting young team being split up. However, this is a club which boasts a proud tradition of producing stellar young players and giving them the platform to shine brightly on the highest stage. They can’t compete financially with the mega-rich powers of European football, but they can stick with their traditions.
For the football romantics and purists amongst us all, while it’s certainly be sad to see this current Ajax team divided, as the stars of this season head elsewhere, the club will live on and continue to entertain. There’s always been and will continue to be a good supply of rising talents ready to step into the fold, chomping at the bit for their chance in the limelight. Next season, we’ll undoubtedly be singing their praises, too.