Dusan Tadic earned a rare perfect rating from French newspaper L'Equipe following his performance for Ajax against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, joining a select group of players to receive the mark that includes Lionel Messi and Neymar.
The Serbia international was sensational in the 4-1 win for the Dutch giants, helping them earn a 5-3 victory on aggregate in the last-16 tie. He set up two goals in the first period—the second of which came after a stunning piece of skill and run—before netting himself with a pinpoint effort from outside the area in the second.
So good was Tadic, he joined a small stable of players to earn a rating of 10 from L'Equipe, as Jonathan Johnson of ESPN FC relayed:
As evidenced above, while Tadic was given top marks, there were some low scores for some Real Madrid players. Casemiro was given just one, while Toni Kroos and Thibaut Courtois picked up twos.
French football journalist Rich Allen noted just how rare it is for the French newspaper to dish out a perfect score:
Rich Allen 🇨🇵⭐⭐🇨🇵 @rich_allen85
The 10 to receive the 10/10 L'Equipe rating: 1. Franck Sauzee (1988) 2. Bruno Martini (1988) 3. Oleg Salenko (1994) 4. Lars Windfeld (1997) 5. Lionel Messi (2010) 6. Lionel Messi (2012) 7. Robert Lewandowski (2013) 8. Carlos Eduardo (2014) 9. Neymar (2018) 10. Dusan Tadic (2019)
Here are some of Tadic's best moments from his incredible display (U.S. only):
Few will argue that Tadic deserved this individual mark, as he was the key man in Ajax producing one of the biggest shocks in Europe in recent years.
While they performed well in a 2-1 loss to Madrid in the first leg of the tie, few anticipated the Dutch side would be able to turn things around at the Santiago Bernabeu. After all, Real have won the last three Champions League titles in a row.
However, early goals from Hakim Ziyech and David Neres put the Amsterdam giants in control of the contest, before Tadic's goal made it 3-0. Madrid did threaten to rally after Marco Asensio reduced the deficit, although Lasse Schone made the game safe with a free-kick.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said it was a performance reminiscent of some of the great Ajax sides:
"This is probably the best game of football I've ever played," Tadic said afterwards to Veronica TV (h/t Sacha Pisani of Goal). "... We have a very good team and we play nice football. [Zinedine] Zidane was always my favourite player. Maybe I was watching too many of his clips."
Following a transfer from Southampton in the summer, Tadic has been exceptional for the Eredivisie outfit:
While usually an attacking midfielder, on Tuesday he lined up at the point of the Ajax attack, with Ziyech and Neres either side. From there, Tadic dropped into space and was able to turn and drive at the opposition defence frequently.
The night was the high point of Tadic's career, and Ajax supporters will be hopeful there is still more to come. After all, on this evidence there aren't many sides who will relish going up the Dutch outfit and their inspired attacking lineup.