Sneijder: Now’s a great time for Ajax to face Real Madrid

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 06: Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands thanks the fans after the International friendly match match between The Netherlands and Peru at the Johan Cruijff Arena on September 06, 2018 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Dutch legend Wesley Sneijder believes the young Ajax team cannot be underestimated against Real Madrid

De Godenzonen have been drawn to face reigning champions Real in the last-16 of the Champions League.

Though not many expect the young and inexperienced Ajax team, who boast an average age of 23 years old, to pose much of a threat to Real, who are chasing a fourth successive European title this season.

But Ajax have proven themselves to be no pushovers in the Champions League this season following a thrilling 3-3 draw against Bayern Munich.

Aside from that, Erik ten Hag’s side are also going strong in the Eredivisie with 15 wins from their 17 games leaving them second and two points adrift of leaders PSV Eindhoven.

Sneijder, who started out his playing career at Ajax and also played for Real, warned that an upset could be on the cards.

“For Ajax, this is the best moment to take on Real Madrid. I don’t see Real Madrid as being as strong as in previous years,” Sneijder told Marca.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 13: Jose Mourinho is seen in the stands prior to the Premier League match between Fulham FC and Everton FC at Craven Cottage on April 13, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

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The former Real Madrid assistant manager backed Jose Mourinho, saying he would have been just as good as Zinedine Zidane is.

“That’s obvious. Ajax are a very young team, but nobody should be mistaken about them as they have a lot of quality and play very well, especially at home in Amsterdam. It’ll be a difficult tie for Real Madrid.”

He added: “Real Madrid are still the favourites despite everything.

“But look! If Ajax can achieve a good result in the first leg then Real Madrid could have problems, and we’ve seen that recently when they face teams that keep the ball.

“This is a good matchup to check the quality of this Ajax side, one that is very exciting, as they go up against the three-in-a-row Champions League winners.”

Sneijder played for Ajax between 2002 to 2007 and won the Eredivisie and two KNVB Cups, while managing 58 goals and 45 assists in 180 appearances across all competitions.

The 34-year-old has since played for Real, Inter Milan, Galatasaray, OGC Nice and now Al-Gharafa in Qatar.