Frenkie de Jong: Barcelona Said 'Do Your Best' to Eliminate Real Madrid in UCL

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2019

Lucas Vazquez of Real Madrid, Frenkie de Jong of Ajax during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match Ajax Amsterdam and Real Madrid at the Johan Cruijff Arena on February 13, 2019 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong has said Barcelona have encouraged him to do what he can to eliminate Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.

It has been confirmed that the Dutch playmaker will make the switch to the La Liga side at the end of the campaign for an initial fee in the region of £65 million. 

Until the end of the term, De Jong will be doing all he can to help Ajax domestically and in Europe. They visit Real Madrid on Tuesday for the second leg of their last-16 showdown in the European Cup, having lost the first clash 2-1 in Amsterdam.

Ahead of the game with Barcelona's great rivals, De Jong told De Telegraaf (h/t AS) that his next club have offered him some support.

"When I was signing my deal, many said to me 'Do your best to eliminate Real Madrid,'" he said. "That would be great for Barca."

However, following the first leg, the Eredivisie side are big underdogs going into the game, as they need to score at least twice on the night at the home of the defending champions. De Jong said he was under no illusions as to how difficult a task it will be, but he added the belief is there.

"In Holland everyone thinks we'll progress," he said. "I generally prefer being favourite going into a game but there is a different pressure now going into the second leg. If we were to eliminate Real Madrid, that would generate a major shock in the footballing world. We'd certainly put the name of Ajax back on the map."

Although Los Blancos earned a big win in the first leg, Ajax performed well for long spells in the match. They were not as clinical as their illustrious opponents, though:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Ajax can now be added to Roma, Napoli, Schalke etc in teams to have rattled Madrid in last 16 through recent seasons but without it ultimately mattering

While it would be a major shock if the Dutch side did enough to progress, Real are not coming into the game in the best of form.

They were beaten twice by Barcelona in the space of four days in their previous two matches, with the team lacking in defensive solidity and attacking inspiration. Real will also be without their captain Sergio Ramos for the second leg of the tie due to suspension.

The Santiago Bernabeu has been an edgy place to play football lately too, with the team enduring their worst run at home in 15 years:

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Real Madrid lose three home games in a row for the first time SINCE 2004.

With the likes of De Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech, Ajax have the ability to control the game and create chances. Where they may fall down, as was the case in the first leg, is in their ruthlessness in both penalty boxes.

Despite not performing to their best this season, Real tend to save their best displays for the Champions League With that in mind, De Jong and his team-mates will need to produce one of the performances of their lives to make those in Catalonia happy.