'Benatia thinks we can beat Juve' – Ziyech says ex-Bianconeri star is backing Ajax to cause Champions League upset

The Dutch giants can beat the Italian champions in Europe, according to the international team-mate of one of the club’s star performers

Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech has revealed that former Juventus defender Medhi Benatia is backing Erik ten Hag’s side to knock his old club out of the Champions League. 

The two heavyweights will meet in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Wednesday night, with the return fixture scheduled to take place on April 16.

Juve are among the favourites to win this year’s competition, alongside the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona, after dispatching Atletico Madrid in the previous round.

Ajax, meanwhile, are the surprise package of the tournament this term, having already managed to knock defending champions Real Madrid out at the round of 16 stage.

Many experts and supporters have suggested that the Dutch outfit could make it all the way to the final and Ziyech is optimistic ahead of hosting the Bianconeri.

When asked for his assessment of the impending clash, the Moroccan confessed he has spoken to his international colleague Benatia about Ajax’s chances of beating Juve.

“Benatia? I spoke to him,” Ziyech told a press conference on Tuesday. “He likes how we are playing and in his opinion, we can beat Juve”.

Benatia joined Juventus back in 2017 after a successful loan spell, spending two years at the Allianz Stadium before completing a move to Qatar-based side Al-Duhail in January.

The 31-year-old won two Serie A crowns and two Coppa Italia titles during his time at the club and is thusly well placed to evaluate the current squad as they enter the latter stages of the Champions League.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men have already sewn up the Italian league for another season, but their burning desire is to conquer Europe for the first time since 1996.

Ajax are chasing their first crown since 1995 and an unprecedented double is also on the cards for them too, as they continue to negotiate a thrilling title with PSV in the Eredivisie.

Erik ten Hag’s men have won ten of their last 11 matches across all competitions and he is hopeful that the win over Real Madrid will serve as the catalyst for another shocking result.

“We must play Juventus with our style,” the 49-year-old boss began. “The most important thing is the result tomorrow. We are only thinking about the match against Juve.

“Juventus are an experienced team and can put different strategies into play. It will be another big obstacle to overcome after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid but we will play as usual and we will have to be good at reading the match.”

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