Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus have been tipped to “physically destroy” Ajax in the Champions League, with Andrea Pirlo admiring the motivation of star turns in Turin.
The Portuguese superstar has carried them into the quarter-finals, with his stunning hat-trick in the second leg of a last-16 showdown with Atletico Madrid helping to keep their dreams alive.
Dutch opponents are next in Juve’s sights , with Ajax having claimed the notable scalp of title holders Real Madrid to prolong their own continental adventure.
An exciting and youthful, Eredivisie outfit will present another stern examination of Juve’s Champions League credentials, but Pirlo believes Ronaldo and Co will prove too strong.
The former star told Gazzetta dello Sport : “Juventus' target is Europe now. They have changed their mentality.
“Ronaldo decided to change his life at 33. It means he had great motivations and he settled in well very quickly.
“In a season, there is always a turnaround, a perfect game that changes the season.
“I think Juve can physically destroy Ajax, it was a good draw.
“Ajax beat Real Madrid but Real were as unorganised as ever and that's rare. It won't happen with Juve.
“Juventus can win the Champions League provided that they won't repeat what they did in Madrid.”
Juve suffered a quarter-final defeat to a Ronaldo-inspired Real Madrid side in 2017-18.
The previous year, the man now on their books dashed their dreams in the final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
They now have the chance to right those wrongs and claim a first European triumph since 1996.
Ronaldo will be expected to lead that charge, with the Champions League’s all-time leading goalscorer having recorded another four efforts in the competition this season as he seeks to lift the famous trophy in a fourth successive campaign.