Ajax vs. Real Madrid  1 - 4

Article

Beenhakker tipping Real to win in Amsterdam

3 October 2012 19:13

Former Real Madrid and Ajax coach Leo Beenhakker is backing the Spanish club to prevail in their Champions League encounter on Wednesday.

But the 70-year-old, who is currently technical director at Ujpest, believes the home side could spring a shock if their illustrious opponents have an off-day.

"I will watch with more interest than normal because I cherish warm feelings for both clubs," he told AD.

"The counter-attack of Real is incredible. Within three seconds they are in front of the goalkeeper. They will only lose if they have a bad day.

"But Ajax beat Manchester United last season. You never know."

Beenhakker has also been interested in the progress of some of his former Ajax players, like Frank De Boer, Dennis Bergkamp, Rob Witschge and Bryan Roy, who all turned to coaching after hanging up their boots.

"Maybe I secretly made a contribution to the road they have travelled. From that group of players, around 15 have gone onto become coaches. I'm proud of that fact."

Article

Van Nistelrooy supports Ronaldo

3 October 2012 14:06

Former Netherlands international Ruud van Nistelrooy has defended Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo.

Van Nistelrooy, who was Ronaldo's team-mate at Manchester United from 2003 until 2006 and at Madrid in 2009-10, has stressed that the Portugal international is not an arrogant person.

"I never saw him as an arrogant guy. He was always open to advice and not arrogant at all. He was a great guy in the dressing room. He was really vain, but always in a good mood and making jokes," Van Nistelrooy told Algemeen Dagblad.

"I talked to him like attackers talk among each other. A lot of his individual actions were not necessary and he lacked efficiency. He still had a lot of room for improvement.

"He worked incredibly hard to become a better player, though. And that's clearly paid off. He really is crazy about the game and always wanted to become the perfect player.

"He's had to work hard to get where he is now. He put in a lot of extra hours after training. And look at where it's got him. He is big, strong, has pace and scores tons of goals. He is a very committed professional."

Ronaldo has netted nine goals in as many official appearances this term, and will be looking to add to his tally in Wednesday's Champions League encounter against Ajax.

Article

Babel aiming for Real Madrid upset

2 October 2012 12:06

Ryan Babel is eagerly anticipating Ajax's Champions League encounter at home against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The attacker, who returned to Ajax this summer after spells with Liverpool and Hoffenheim, believes it is crucial for the Eredivisie champions to try and play their own game versus the La Liga giants, and is hoping to spring a surprise.

"We have to try and play our own game. Real Madrid are obviously a strong team and we will try to exploit their weaknesses, but we have to stay true to our own philosophy," Babel told Goal.com.

"You never know what will happen if we're on top of our game. Real Madrid are used to playing against teams that sit deep and defend in numbers. Perhaps we can spring a surprise if we play our own game."

Babel has good memories of Real Madrid as he beat the Spanish giants 5-0 on aggregate in the 2008-09 Champions League round of 16 while under contract with Liverpool.

"They had a completely different team back then, but we outclassed Real Madrid in both legs. We outplayed them at Anfield and at the Santiago Bernabeu. We were a lot quicker and physically stronger with Liverpool," he said.

Ajax have been struggling to make an impact in the Champions League in recent years and lost their opening game against Borussia Dortmund 1-0.

Babel realises there is a big difference between playing in the Eredivisie and in Europe, and has called for focus ahead of the match against Madrid.

"Teams like Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid are much more direct. The pace of the game is much higher and you try to prepare for that," he said.

"Everybody is doing a lot of running and is always on the move. The type of game that's played is much more unpredictable."

Eredivisie table

# Team MP D P
1 17 +34 43
2 17 +26 39
3 17 +15 31
4 17 +10 29
5 17 +10 28

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 15 +42 39
2 16 +34 38
3 16 +17 35
4 16 +16 31
5 16 +13 30