Despite their heroics against Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, Ajax were undoubtedly seen as the plum quarter-final draw (alongside Porto) for the rest of the sides left in the competition.
The Dutch giants knocked out Los Blancos 5-3 on aggregate, and completed the famous victory with an unbelievable 4-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu.
But for all of the plaudits Ajax duly received – and deservedly so – there is one little asterisk that goes with such an accomplishment; Madrid didn’t have Cristiano Ronaldo.
Instead, the Champions League’s record goalscorer finds himself in Turin, playing for Juventus, and as the draw was read out earlier on Friday afternoon, Ajax must have been hoping to avoid both the Portuguese star and the Bianconeri.
The stats show that the five time Ballon d’Or winner has scored seven Champions League goals against Ajax – only against Bayern Munich (9) and current side Juventus (10) has he scored more often.
If you’re sitting there as an Ajax fan and clinging to the optimistic hope ‘well it’s only one player, he could have an off night’, then the subsequent fact that Ajax have never beaten Juventus in the Champions League in five attempts (W0 D1 L4) makes for much more grim reading.
Indeed, their last win against the Old Lady came in the formerly known European Cup back in the 1973 final. If the four-time winners of the competition are to triumph for a fifth time, then may the odds forever be in their favour. Because at the moment, none of the stats do.