Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo led Real to three straight European Cups from 2016 to 2018.
But both Bernabeu legends departed the club last summer before Los Blancos endured a terrible start to the campaign.
Santiago Solari has arrested Real’s slide with some positive results, and a relative lack of pressure and expectation this term could end up working in Real’s favour.
But first, they must see off an Ajax side who have scored 72 goals in 20 Eredivisie games, and pushed Bayern Munich all the way in Group E.
Frankie de Jong is fit to play for Ajax against Real Madrid in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday (kick-off 8 pm), boss Erik ten Hag confirmed.
Ajax enters the last-16 clash for the first time since the 2005/06 season and have never progressed to a further stage.
However, last season’s Eredivisie runners-up are unbeaten in the competition this season and finished just two points behind Bayern Munich in Group E on 12 points.
They will face Madrid with De Jong, who will join Barcelona for an initial £65m fee in July, confirmed as fit enough to play at least some part in the game after exacerbating an adductor injury at the weekend.
Team News of Ajax vs Real Madrid
Ajax are sweating over the fitness of Frankie de Jong, who is set to join Barcelona in the summer.
The youngster has been carrying a knock but both coach and player are hopeful he will play.
De Jong is set to feature in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Madrid.
The 21-year-old was forced off the pitch 10 minutes from time as Ajax lost to Heracles Almelo in the Eredivisie on Saturday.
He had been struggling before the game with an injury but was passed fit to play.
Ajax also have concerns over the fitness of Nicolas Tagliafico, who completed Saturday’s match but has been battling with a knee complaint, local media reported.
Solari could name an unchanged side to the one that beat rivals Atletico Madrid 3-1 at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.
Jesus Vallejo and Luca Zidane are both ruled out (hamstring). Isco was not included in Real’s 23-man squad as he has a back and neck injury.
For Real Madrid, Isco and Marcos Alonso are out while Jesus Vallejo is a doubt.
Sergio Ramos is one booking away from missing the second leg.
Ajax XI: Onana; Mazraoui, De Ligt, Blind, Tagliafico; De Jong, Van de Beek, Schone; Ziyech, Dolberg, Tadic
Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Reguilón; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Vinicius
Score prediction: Ajax 2-2 Real Madrid
TV channel and live stream, and online coverage
The match will be televised live on BT Sport 3.
BT Sport subscribers will be able to stream the match online via the video player and the BT Sport app.
You can Follow match HERE
The sides have met 12 times in European competition beforehand, with Real winning seven games, Ajax four, and just the one draw.
The last time the two sides met was in the 2012-13 Champions League group stages, with Real winning both games 4-1.