Drenthe warns Van de Beek over Real Madrid move: It's an enormous club
Former Real Madrid winger Royston Drenthe has warned Donny van de Beek he will have to do it alone if he takes the plunge and swaps Ajax for the enormous challenge of the Santiago Bernabeu.
The 22-year-old was one of the stars of the Dutch champions' eye-catching run to the Champions League semi-final last season, scoring in his side's memorable quarter-final win against Juventus and in the first leg of their last-four defeat to Tottenham.
His stellar rise has attracted the attention of Real as they look to rebuild after a disappointing season, and Zinedine Zidane will turn to the Dutchman if his pursuit of Manchester United's Paul Pogba comes to nothing.
And his countryman Drenthe, who spent five years at the Bernabeu from 2007-12 after signing from Feyenoord as an 18-year-old, says the youngster will need to mature quickly if he wants to thrive in La Liga.
It will have an impact on him if he goes to that huge Real, the 32-year-old told De Telegraaf. When I arrived there it was already extremely hectic, with three to four thousand people at the airport. A quarter of the stadium was filled at the presentation, for Cristiano Ronaldo the entire stadium.
At that time boys like [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy, Guti and [Michel] Salgado took care of me and other young boys like [Gonzalo] Higuain.
But he must still do it alone, although of course there will be people from the club who will help him.
Drenthe made only 46 appearances during his first three seasons at Real before being loaned out, first to La Liga rivals Hercules and latterly to Everton, as he struggled to live up to the expectations set by his €14 million (£12m/$15m) transfer.
And he is hopeful that the Ajax starlet will show himself to have the strength of character to thrive in the testing environment of the 13-time European champions if Real cough up the reported €65m (£58m/$74m) fee sought by Ajax.
It's very nice for Donny, said Drenthe. I only know him from TV, from that last beautiful year at Ajax. He's a very good player. Being able to play football without pressure is the best thing possible, but if the pressure beats you...
That was also the case for me, 'why didn't it work for me?' I thought. Not everyone could deal with it. Of course I don't know Donny, but it would be nice if he could handle it.
If he thought how big Ajax was in the Netherlands, he will be almost unable to understand how enormous Real is. He will be the first (Dutchman) to be able to play there after Rafa [Van de Vaart], Wesley [Sneijder], [Klaas-Jan] Huntelaar and me.