Ajax in Champions League semis is 'crazy', says Vertonghen

By Sports Desk April 18, 2019

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen said it was "crazy" to see his former club Ajax in the Champions League semi-finals.

The Eredivisie giants are into the last four of Europe's elite club competition for the first time since 1997 after an incredible run that has included eliminating Real Madrid and Juventus.

Vertonghen started his professional career in Amsterdam before making the move to Spurs in 2012.

The defender said Ajax's run was no longer a surprise as he prepares to face his former club in the semi-finals.

"Ajax, obviously it's crazy they're there. An even bigger surprise that Ajax is there than us, probably," Vertonghen told UK media.

"I follow them every game, I speak to the people at the club, I know how good they are, I've watched every game.

"At the beginning in the Champions League they surprised everyone but now it is not a surprise any more. They are of this level, they are Champions League semi-final quality. That's how it is.

"I know how good they are, because obviously knocking Madrid and Juventus out is crazy. It will be an unbelievable battle between two positive sides."

While Ajax shocked Juve, Spurs survived a remarkable second leg against Manchester City, progressing on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate draw.

Progression was only secured after the VAR ruled out a stoppage-time goal by City attacker Raheem Sterling, who thought he had sent Pep Guardiola's men into the semis.

"It was crazy, madness, absolute madness. You don't know anything and it's a weird feeling," Vertonghen said.

"No-one was even appealing for offside, we all thought they had scored. Everyone was on the floor, but there was still two or three minutes left.

"So it was 'let's try and get the ball in the box and we will see whatever happens'. And then out of nothing, the referee came up with VAR. We didn't even know."

Tottenham will host the first leg of their semi-final against Ajax on April 30.

Related items

  • Lukaku out of Inter clash as Solskjaer backs 'world class' Martial Lukaku out of Inter clash as Solskjaer backs 'world class' Martial

    Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is "not fit" to face suitors Inter in Saturday's pre-season friendly in Singapore, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    Lukaku has not featured on the pre-season tour of Australia and Asia amid speculation over his future.

    Serie A side Inter have identified the Belgium international as a suitable replacement for the unwanted Mauro Icardi, but will reportedly have to pay around £75million to prise him from Old Trafford.

    United are yet to provide specific details about the nature of Lukaku's fitness problem, which has been described as minor.

    "He is not fit, so he won't be available, no," Solskjaer said ahead of the International Champions Cup clash.

    Asked about Lukaku's transfer situation, the Norwegian responded: "I don't have any updates from the last time."

    Lukaku's ongoing absence has allowed Anthony Martial to stake a claim for a starting place in attack.

    The France international scored from the spot in the 4-0 friendly victory over Leeds United in Perth and Solskjaer remains a keen admirer of the 23-year-old despite his struggles to completely convince in the Premier League.

    "Anthony can be a world-class forward," the United manager said.

    "I think if you have followed Anthony, the way he has come back to pre-season, his attitude is spot on.

    "I think he has always got the quality and talent, so I expect him and Marcus [Rashford] to be even better than last season."

    Star goalkeeper David de Gea and left-back Luke Shaw have been cleared to feature against Inter after sitting out the Leeds match.

  • Leroy Sane: No contact with Bayern Munich, says Pep Guardiola Leroy Sane: No contact with Bayern Munich, says Pep Guardiola

    Pep Guardiola remains hopeful winger Leroy Sane will stay at Manchester City and claims he has not spoken to anyone at Bayern Munich regarding the Germany international.

    Bayern are on the lookout for wide players to fill the sizeable void left by Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben with Sane top of their wishlist.

    Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and coach Niko Kovac have been vocal in their admiration of the 23-year-old with the former even suggesting the Bundesliga champions are "ready" to make a move should the player express a wish to leave the Etihad Stadium.

    Guardiola, speaking ahead of the Asia Trophy clash with Wolves, hinted at dissatisfaction with his former club's public pursuit and outlined his desire to keep Sane in the Premier League.

    He told reporters in Shanghai: "For a long time they talk about their interest, but Leroy is our player and hopefully he can stay next season and next season and next season."

    Pushed on if he had spoken to anyone at Bayern, Guardiola replied: "No."

    City have been relatively quiet in the transfer window so far, with the signing of defensive midfielder Rodri from Atletico Madrid their only major acquisition.

    Guardiola said: "We are so happy with the squad we have. I don't know if the players here will stay or if new players will come. But I am delighted with the players we have."

    City have been linked with Leicester City's Harry Maguire although it seems Manchester United now lead the race for the England international. Guardiola suggested central defence was an area he was considering strengthening but had options in his squad should a move not materialise.

    "There's a chance [of a defender coming in] but I don't know if it will be possible. We [already] have three incredible central defenders and Fernandinho can play in that position," he said.

  • Rondon reunites with Benitez at Dalian Yifang Rondon reunites with Benitez at Dalian Yifang

    Salomon Rondon has linked back up with former Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez after leaving West Brom for Dalian Yifang.

    Venezuela striker Rondon joins the Chinese Super League side for an undisclosed fee.

    The 29-year-old played under Benitez on loan at Newcastle last season, scoring 12 goals in all competitions.

    He previously netted 24 times across three Premier League seasons for West Brom following his arrival from Russian outfit Zenit for a reported £12million in 2015.

    The Baggies were relegated to the Championship three years later and Rondon has now left the Hawthorns on a permanent basis.

    His new team-mates at Dalian include Yannick Carrasco and Marek Hamsik. 

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.