#95 // Tadić → Neres Ajax 2 – 0 Real Madrid

A goal created from out of nowhere.

The ball at midfield, with Dušan Tadić.

And ten seconds later, it’s in the back of the net.




It’s the second leg of the Champions League round of 16—with a fading, stale Real Madrid against the best upstart team Europe has seen in many, many years.

This Ajax Amsterdam squad, transforming with each UCL game into a mirror image of ’09 Barcelona. Maybe even more fun to watch than that?

With a kind of passing, vision, inventiveness better than maybe all the teams in Europe—the whole group linked together in a kind of psychic chemistry.

The kind of soccer that makes you smile, the whole game, at just how good it is.




With this assist, this goal, they’ve tapped everyone on the shoulder and said:

“We’re here.”




Here it is again:



They went on to win 4-1, at the Bernabeu, the kind of result that’ll be remembered for years. The little Dutch team that could, sticking it to the thrice-consecutive defending champs.

On to the quarterfinals, and Juventus.




This Ajax team, if they could play every night, should have their own show. Outside of the Champions League, beyond the Dutch Eredivisie.

Theater. Ballet. The greatest art museums in Europe. Cirque de Soleil. Broadway. The opera.

Traveling the world, to show off the most artful, elegant brand of soccer there can be.


Just look, at but four moments out of the hundreds:




You think again, watching them, about those greatest Barcelona and Spain teams.

But you realize this team won’t last—and that the very moment they’ve shown this promise, they’ll be broken up, sold, cashed in on for another future rebuild.

As Ajax does, and will do.


But you also remember that Frenkie De Jong is set to join that very Barcelona team…

A group with Messi, Alba, and some of that magic still left.


Then you see a tweet like this, and you start to wonder:




Can this blossoming Ajax team, set to be broken up, do us soccer fans a solid…


By heading down to Spain, throwing on the blaugrana jerseys…


And get put back, beautifully, together again?