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Five things we learned from Ajax’s stunning win over Real Madrid

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Ajax produced a five-star performance at the Santiago Bernabeu to sensationally overturn a first leg defect thanks to goals from Hakim Ziyech, David Neres, Dusan Tadic and Lasse Schone in a 4-1 victory for the away side.

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Real Madrids grip on the Champions League trophy is over after the club won a hat-trick of titles over the past three seasons.

Tadic was the shining light in a wonderful team performance from Ajax who progress to their first Champions League quarter-final since 2003.

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It was an incredible night of Champions League drama.

Here are five things we learned.

Real Madrid miss Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos has arguably been just as important as the imperious Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid’s success down the years. He’s scored in two Champions League finals and is a calming influence on Real’s back four.

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They started the game very well, with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric seeing a lot of the ball in the opening exchanges as Real took command of the ball. Los Blancos could have been ahead through Raphael Varane, but the world cup winner rattled the bar from point blank range.

Soon afterwards, Ajax sprung a counter-attack down their right-hand side where former-Southampton player Dusan Tadic isolated Nacho who came into the team in place of the suspended Ramos. Tadic skilfully found his way around Nacho to set up Hakim Ziyech who opened the scoring.

The game continued in the same vein after the goal, with Real having most of the ball. Ajax would soon catch them out again, though. David Neres doubled the visitors lead as Real’s defence looked at sixes and sevens, Ajax looked as though they were going to score with every attack.

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Real sorely missed the commanding presence of Ramos in the quarter-final second leg against Juventus last season, and they struggled to cope without their captain defensively again. To add insult to injury for Real, Nacho was dismissed in stoppage time.

Frenkie de Jong is going to be a superstar

The Santiago Bernabeu can be a daunting stage for a young footballer. This certainly wasn’t the case for 21-year-old de Jong, the Dutch midfielder was virtuoso in the first half and equally as brilliant in the second.

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He’s becoming a key figure in Ronald Koeman’s setup in the Dutch national team, and he’s been fantastic for Ajax this season which has earned him a transfer to Barcelona- where he will play his club football next season.

There seems little doubt that he will follow in the footsteps of Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff and go on to become a great player for Barcelona having moved from Ajax.

Playing alongside Schone and Donny van de Beeck in midfield, the Ajax contingent won their battle against Real trio Modric, Casemiro and Kroos in the first half.

De Jong produced a complete midfield performance. Calm in possession, good at breaking up the play, full of energy, an excellent passing range and enjoys playing at the Bernabeu- he’ll fit right in at Barcelona.

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Dusan Tadic has took his game up a level

When Tadic played at Southampton, he certainly showed glimpses of quality whether it be from the wide areas or in the number ten position. At the Bernebeu, we seen Tadic in a new role- as a central striker.

The Serb was at the centre of everything for his side in an attacking sense in the first half, setting the tone, finding space and linking the play as Ajax raced into a two-goal lead inside 18 minutes with Tadic assisting both goals. He could have had a hat-trick of assists had but Neres chipped his effort wide of Thibaut Courtois’ goal.

He continued in the same vein in the second half, and on the hour mark he thumped Ajax into a three goal lead wrapping his left foot round the ball and curling it into the top corner.

In contrast to the flat-footed Karim Benzema spearheading Real’s attack, Tadic was full of tricks and movement and caused all sorts of problems for Varane and Nacho.

Tadic’s all round play as a centre-forward was fantastic, his role for Ajax is similar to the one Roberto Firmino plays for Liverpool.

Much like Mo Salah and Sadio Mane feed off Firmino’s unselfish play, Ziyech and Neres were benefitting from Tadic’s astute movement and tactical awareness in an impressive first half team performance from the visitors.

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EPL: Allegri breaks silence on replacing Solskjaer as Man Utd manager

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Massimiliano Allegri has poured cold water on speculations, that he was set to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United manager.

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With the Red Devils making their worst-ever start to a Premier League season, pressure is beginning to mount on Solskjaer at Old Trafford.

Allegri’s name has quickly emerged as a possible replacement.

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The Italian, who is currently without a job after leaving Juve, claims his English skills are not yet up to scratch for a job at Old Trafford.

“I don’t speak English enough yet, but I’m learning,” Allegri joked while speaking at the Football Coaches Association symposium via Przeglad Sportowy.

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While eager to improve his English, Allegri went on to highlight that he is a coach that listens more than he speaks.

He added: “There are two ways to be a good trainer: authoritarian and liberal. I prefer the latter, so I listen more than I speak.

“Thanks to this strategy, I receive more information from the outside that positively changes my world. I still deny the validity of my ideas. I argue with myself.

“If I think that something is 100 per cent good, I am worried and consult on this opinion with the people around me.

“When I came to Turin after Antonio Conte, many thought I was screwed. That Juve is burned out. That the winning stage is over because the team is saturated.

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“The situation was not perfect because I found a team that needed rebuilding. It’s exciting, but also at risk of failure, and Juventus is not the place where the latter is accepted. That’s why I had to look for ways to stimulate the group. I listened and changed.”

The 52-year-old won Serie A in each of his five seasons with the Bianconeri and twice saw them progress to the Champions League final.

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Luis Suárez reacts as Messi wins Sixth Golden Boot (Photo)

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Barcelona striker, Luis Suárez, has congratulated captain, Lionel Messi after the ” received his sixth European Golden Boot at the Antiga Fàbrica Estrella Damm in Spain on Wednesday.

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Omasi Talks recalls that Messi received the 2019 Golden boot for the highest goal scorer in the Europe top five league competitions after his nearest challenger, Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe fell short.

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The Argentine captain emerged winner with 36 league goals, three ahead of Mbappe.

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He claimed the award for the third time in a row, since the prize was recreated back in 1968.

The 32-year-old now has two Golden Shoes ahead of his closest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Reacting, Suarez in a tweet on his official Twitter page, said Messi ‘deserved’ the award.

The Uruguay international tweeted: “Congratulations kid! I am very happy for you, more than deserved! Now for the next one!

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Both Suarez and Messi will hope to lead Barcelona to victory this weekend when they take on Eibar in the La Liga fixture.

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EPL: Liverpool set to sign Samuel Chukwueze

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Premier League leaders, Liverpool, are set to make a move in the January transfer window, for Samuel Chukwueze, according to Megoalsports.

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The report claimed that Reds boss, Jurgen Klopp, was eager to add the 20-year-old Nigerian winger to his squad.

Chukwueze is also on the radar of Real Madrid, who see him as a replacement for wantaway star, Gareth Bale.

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Madrid’s rivals, Barcelona, also see the Super Eagles star, as a cheaper alternative to Brazil’s Neymar.

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Chukwueze, who is currently playing for Villarreal in LaLiga, reportedly has a €63m release clause.

He scored 10 goals and provided three assists in 40 appearances in his first season with Villarreal and has already scored once and provided two assists this term.

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