Andrea Pirlo: Juventus Can 'Physically Destroy' Ajax and Win Champions LeagueMarch 25, 2019
Juventus have been handed a "good draw" in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals because they can "physically destroy" opponents Ajax, according to Andrea Pirlo.
The Old Lady are in the last eight thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick in the second leg of their last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid, which saw Juve overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg:
The 3-0 victory should give the Italian giants some momentum in the tournament, which will be their key focus for the rest of the season as Juventus are 15 points clear at the top of Serie A.
Ajax were brilliant as they ousted Real Madrid in the last 16. But Pirlo, a four-time league winner with Juventus, believes his former side will have too much for the Dutch outfit, and they could then go on and win the tournament, per La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Calciomercato):
"Juventus' target is Europe now. They have changed their mentality. Ronaldo decided to change his life at 33. It means he had great motivations and he settled in well very quickly. In a season, there is always a turnaround, a perfect game that changes the season. I think Juve can physically destroy Ajax, it was a good draw. Ajax beat Real Madrid but Real were as unorganised as ever and that's rare. It won't happen with Juve. Juventus can win the Champions League provided that they won't repeat what they did in Madrid."
If Juve beat Ajax, who they face in the first leg at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on April 10, they will then have to beat either Manchester City or Tottenham Hotspur to advance to a third final in five years:
Pirlo was part of the side that lost 3-1 to Barcelona in 2015's final, and the Old Lady then lost 4-1 to Ronaldo's Real Madrid two years later.
The addition of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner to the Juventus squad for £99.2 million last summer immediately improved the Italian side's chances of going all the way in 2019.
And the 34-year-old produced a display worthy of his price tag against Atleti to keep his side's European dreams alive.
Juventus are one of the biggest clubs in Europe and are on track for an eighth consecutive Serie A title this term.
But they boast only two European Cup wins, the same as Nottingham Forest, Porto and Benfica.
They have finished runners-up in Europe's elite tournament seven times in their history, more than any other side.
But Pirlo is clearly confident that this season, with Ronaldo in the side, they can go one step further and win the famous trophy for the first time since 1996.