Daley Blind has looked back on Ajax’s “beautiful” win over Real Madrid in 2019, remembering how Frenkie de Jong told their Netherlands team-mates they were going to beat the Spanish side when they were drawn against them.
Ajax’s 2018/19 Champions League campaign was one of football’s greatest stories in recent times, with the team knocking out Real Madrid and Juventus on their way to the semi-final.
The win against Real Madrid in particular was a shock result, with most expecting the then-reigning champions to win comfortably.
Looking back on it though in conversation with VI, Blind says De Jong was always confident they could get through, saying they would when they were discussing the draw with Netherlands team-mates.
‘Some of our guys, like Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Donny van de Beek and me, with some guys from other clubs that were still active in the Champions League, we talked about Real Madrid,” he said.
“And those guys said it was going to be very difficult for us. I remember Frenkie saying: ‘Difficult for us? We’re going to win it, we can win the Champions League.’
“Matthijs de Ligt and I looked at each other smiling and said: ‘If he says it, why not, haha?’ It also suited us at that time. We expressed mutual trust to each other that it was possible. And of course, sometimes you thought to yourself: What are we talking about? But it really came together.”
Real Madrid won the first leg of the tie in Amsterdam, and confident that they’d go through, Sergio Ramos purposely got a yellow so he’d be suspended for the second leg and would have a clean slate for the rest of the competition after that.
Blind says that gave Ajax added confidence.
“We went to Madrid with the feeling that we would score there anyway. In addition, we knew that Sergio Ramos would not participate, because he had deliberately taken yellow in Amsterdam and was suspended,” he added.
“That night, all the pieces of the puzzle fell together. A great evening, with a great team.”