Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong says FC Barcelona have urged him and his Ajax Amsterdam team mates to knock the Catalans’ historic rivals Real Madrid out of the UEFA Champions League.
He said the Spanish La Liga leaders, who are his future club, asked for the favour ahead of Tuesday’s last 16 second leg match.
The 21-year-old Netherlands international has agreed to join FC Barcelona next season, completing a transfer in January for an initial fee of 75 million euros ($84.9 million).
But for now he is focusing on Tuesday’s trip to the Santiago Bernabeu and attempting to overhaul a 2-1 deficit from the first leg against Real Madrid.
The title-holders have monopolised the trophy since 2016.
“I spoke to them when I signed the contract and they told me to try to knock out Real Madrid, as that would be great for Barca too,” De Jong told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
Ajax’s daunting task of turning the tie around has been given a slight boost by the suspension of Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.
The Spain international picked up a yellow card late in the game in Amsterdam.
De Jong urged his side to be courageous and believes they can still cause a shock by eliminating Real Madrid.
Real Madrid have lost their last three games at the Bernabeu and were beaten 1-0 and 3-0 by FC Barcelona in their previous games.
“We have to play on the attack, put them under pressure and play great football,” he added.
“If everyone contributes, we have enough quality to cause a surprise.”