AFC Ajax

Ajax Have Slain Cristiano Ronaldo, Giant Of The Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo, the man who has loomed over the continent’s premier tournament like some giant of myth awaiting the latest, inevitably doomed attempt of some do-gooder to slay him, has been felled.

This Ajax team has revealed itself to be a giant-killer of the sort that didn’t seem to exist anymore—not in the modern era, in which dozens of obscenely rich clubs have trained their all-seeing eyes on the world’s talent, jealously snatching up seemingly each and every high-potential youngster before the smaller clubs have a chance to coalesce into something that could threaten the upper class’ dominance for even a single season.

Somehow, though, Ajax have been able to emerge as legitimate challengers to anyone, thanks to their commitment to an established playing style, a devotion to youth development, an intense scouting system of their own that scours the globe for gifted players who elude the big clubs’ notice, and the saving and strategic outlaying of transfer funds so that when the right player becomes available, Ajax have the wherewithal to sign him.

Ajax had to go through three rounds of Champions League qualifiers to make it that far, kicking off their campaign last July against Austria’s Sturm Graz, but by the time the group stage came about, they were already starting to show their mettle.

Once again, Ajax played fantastically in the first leg only to suffer a relatively unfortunate result, this time a 1-1 draw, the critical blow dealt by Ronaldo.

Ajax will face either Tottenham or Manchester City in the semifinals, which will be the Dutch club’s first foray that deep into the tournament in 22 years.

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