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'His work ethic is the best I've ever seen' - Ajax hero Tadic commended after eliminating Real Madrid

9:43 PM IST 08/03/19
Dusan Tadic Ajax 2018-19
After his heroics against the Spanish giants in Europe, a former team-mate heaped praise on the Serb's work-rate and talent

Dusan Tadic’s performance against Real Madrid in Ajax’s massive 4-1 Champions League win came as no surprise to former Groningen team-mate and Finnish international Tim Sparv.

Tadic provided two assists and a goal in a stellar all-round display while dumping the holders out of the competition on Tuesday. It was a landmark performance by the Serbian attacker, but Sparv always knew he had it him .

The 32-year-old Midtylland midfielder credits Tadic’s work rate and technical ability with his back to goal as reasons for his success.

"I very rarely get impressed with the work ethic of a colleague, but Dusan has been at a higher level in this regard than any other player I've seen in my career,” Sparv told Goal and SPOX.

"In Groningen, there was a small gym beside the dressing room and I can still remember how Dusan worked there individually before and after each training session. This was not a club requirement, it was his own motivation.

"With his back to the goal, Dusan is one of the best players I have ever seen. No matter if he has one or two opponents right behind him - you can always feed him with balls and he never loses them."

Sparv remembers Tadic fondly from their time together in the Netherlands and is at a loss to explain why his former team-mate hasn’t really cracked the big time.

"There was a Macedonian restaurant in the city of Groningen where Dusan used to hang around with Tim Matavz, and occasionally I was there too. During those hours I came to know him as a very sociable, down to earth, talkative and always positive person.

"I do not know why he did not make the final step to becoming a superstar. He played a key role in each of his clubs and was always involved in many goals."

Tadic must switch his focus now to the Eredivisie where Ajax face Fortuna Sittard on Sunday. The Amsterdam club are lying in second, five points behind leaders PSV, albeit with a game in hand.

The Dutch giants will find out their Champions League quarter-final opponents when the draw is made on Friday, March 15.