Monday 19 August 2019

Tadic turns from Saint to winner to inspire Ajax

Ajax's Dusan Tadic (C) celebrates with David Neres (R) and Hakim Ziyech after scoring against Real Madrid. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Ajax's Dusan Tadic (C) celebrates with David Neres (R) and Hakim Ziyech after scoring against Real Madrid. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Luke Edwards

When Dusan Tadic left Southampton for Ajax last summer, he did so with more than a hint of failure lingering behind him, having scored just 20 league goals over the course of four largely unspectacular years.

Tadic did have some bright moments after joining from FC Twente in the summer of 2014 for just over £10m, but the general assessment of his time there was that he was nothing special.

The move back to Holland was seen as a step down, a silent acceptance he could not cut it at the top level.

Ajax thought differently and Tadic has rewarded them with the sort of impact not seen in Amsterdam since Luis Suarez was in town.

Blinded While most casual observers have been blinded by the brilliance of Ajax's exciting young players during their run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, in Holland, the signing of Tadic is seen as the single biggest reason for the team's improvement.

Tadic has added more than goals - 20 in the league and another nine in Europe - he has brought experience and leadership.

The Serb was initially signed to replace Morocco international Hakim Ziyech, but the pair have instead formed a potent partnership after the younger man decided to stay at Ajax for at least one more season.

Juventus, inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo, will be favourites over two legs, but nobody expected Ajax to tear Real Madrid apart in the previous round and the Dutch team will look to impose themselves on their Italian opponents in exactly the same style.

Ajax v Juventus,

Live, BT Sport 3, 8.0

Telegraph.co.uk

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