Dimitri Berbatov has warned former club Tottenham Hotspur about underestimating Champions League opponents Ajax, revealing both clubs have a 50/50 chance of qualifying for the final round.
Spurs welcome Ajax for the first leg of the Champions League semi final fixture, and while the white Lily’s overcame Manchester City to seal a place in the last four, Tuesday’s opponent knocked out Real Madrid and Juventus to make themselves well worthy of progressing to the grand stage.
Berbatov would be delighted to see his former side progress, but expects an even fixture.
“Ajax is a great opportunity [for Spurs] but this is what Real Madrid and Juventus thought. I think the game is pretty even, it’s 50/50,” Berbatov told Metro.
“They play very similar football. Spurs from Ajax have Vertonghen, Eriksen, Alderweireld, Sanchez….I see the connection. I think it shows.
“Ajax have great players again now in De Ligt, De Jong and Tadic, who was at Southampton and now he’s destroying Real Madrid – it’s crazy.
“They play with no pressure up until this point but maybe now they will start thinking about the final.
“I was in the same position with Bayer Leverkusen in 2002 against Manchester United. We were in the semi-finals, we knew if we beat them we’re in the final of Champions League. Then you start thinking….wow we’re near the final of the Champions League what the are we doing here?”
On Mattihijs De Ligt: “De Ligt – he’s what…19? This you do not see so often.”
“He’s the captain. How mature do you have to be to captain a side with other players that might be 28,29,30 years old?
“He’s the guy with the responsibility. He has the physique, the brains. He has the calmness, the confidence oozes from him.
“How do you teach players like this? It’s amazing. If you want to play football, you need to have that confidence and that’s why I love how Ajax play.”
On Tottenham Hotspur: “They were starting to build. I said to Daniel [Levy] the other day at the Spurs legends match when we play Inter: “Congratulations. The stadium, the training ground, it’s unbelievable. But why was this not here when I was there?!”‘
“When you see it now, you want to play. It’s there for you to play football and to enjoy. For them to be in the semi-finals of the Champions League it is a fairytale.
“If they go to the final it’s up to them but they fully deserve it. If they can win it then my god, unbelievable.”