Sky Sports pundit predicts Ajax v Real Madrid
Charlie Nicholas looks ahead to Ajax's clash with Real Madrid in the Champions League
Charlie Nicholas is backing Real Madrid to claim a thrilling 3-2 win over Ajax in the Champions League in Amsterdam on Wednesday night.
The Spanish giants are heading to the Netherlands to take on the Dutch outfit in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash in Amsterdam.
Real Madrid have been in great form in recent weeks and have won their last five games in a row in La Liga to leave them second in the table behind FC Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Ajax head into the game after having lost two of their last three games in the Dutch league to allow PSV Eindhoven to move six points clear at the top of the table.
Former Arsenal star Nicholas is looking forward to an entertaining game between the two sides in the Netherlands on Wednesday night, but he is ultimately tipping Real Madrid to come out on top.
Writing in his column for Sky Sports, Nicholas said: “Ajax have found their mojo and are a decent force again, but there is a combination of old and young. Tadic has the creative spark. Hakim Ziyech and Klaas Jan Huntelaar are scoring.
“They have never changed their philosophy on how they wanted to master the art of entertaining football.
“Young players are probably not as good as they should be, but they are covering it with Daley Blind, who is back now. It is about understanding the club and integrating young players into the football club that they know.
“I have always had a lot of respect for them. They have a lovely stadium in the centre of the city, and one of the most iconic kits.
“They have the history behind them and I would love to see them back among the best. They are capable of upsetting Real Madrid but it’s great to see them here. This is the game to watch.”
Real Madrid have continued their record of appearing in the Champions League last 16 every year since its introduction in 2003-04 – and have not lost a tie at this juncture in nine years.
Meanwhile, Ajax have reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2005-06 but have never won at this stage of the Champions League.
The Dutch club are bidding to lift the Champions League trophy for the first time since their famous win over Juventus in the 1995 final.