​The 2018/19 campaign wasn't short of narratives for people to latch onto, but few stories last season pulled at the heartstrings like that of AFC Ajax.


Their unbelievable performances in the Champions League had fans across Europe glued to their television screens just to catch a glimpse of de Godenzonen, with stars like Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech standing out from the crowd in Amsterdam.


But one of Ajax's best unsung heroes was Donny van de Beek, who has recently been the subject of interest from La Liga giants Real Madrid.


The 22-year-old might have gone under the radar last season, but here's a handful of things to know about Van de Beek as he continues to be linked with a move to join Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabéu.


He Could Become Real Madrid's 7th Signing This Summer

FBL-ESP-BEL-REAL MADRID

Just in case it hasn't been made clear already this summer, Real Madrid are undergoing a major overhaul to get back to the top of the European football pyramid next season.


​Los Blancos have already splashed over €300m to sign five first-team players, including Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard and Eintracht Frankfurt's goal machine Luka Jović.


Japanese starlet Takefusa Kubo has also joined the club's Castilla side on a free transfer, while Van de Beek has joined the likes of Paul Pogba and Christian Eriksen as targets to bolster Zinedine Zidane's midfield next season.


He's Already Attracted Interest From Bayern Munich & Barcelona

FBL-NED-EREDIVISIE-GRAAFSCHAP-AJAX

Van de Beek has only really established himself in Amsterdam over the last couple of years, but the Netherlands international was being eyed by European football's biggest clubs within months of making his first-team debut.


Playing his first Eredivisie game in November 2015, Van de Beek was named as a target for Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich the following March, while just one month later Barcelona's name was also thrown into the mix by Mundo Deportivo.


He's Always a Threat in the Final Third

Donny van de Beek

One thing that has stood out throughout his time in Amsterdam so far is that Van de Beek is deadly in front of goal, boasting an impressive record of 25 goals in just 77 appearances during his youth career at Ajax.


Since stepping up to the first-team setup, the 22-year-old has made 138 appearances across all competition, being directly involved in 54 goals.


Last season specifically, Van de Beek scored 17 goals - including against Juventus and Tottenham in the Champions League - as well as picking up 13 assists.


He set up Ajax's third goal in the KNVB Cup final as Ajax went on to claim a domestic double, while only just missing out on a place in the Champions League final.


He's Actually a No. 6 in Midfield

FBL-EUR-C1-TOTTENHAM-AJAX

For all of van de Beek's famed attacking quality, however, former manager Frank de Boer claimed that the youngster was more naturally a No. 6 (a defensive midfielder) more than any other position.


"Playing football, Donny has everything to play at 6," de Boer said (via Ajaxlife) before admitting van de Beek still needed to improve his defensive work.


"But that is also a position in which you have to fight out many personal duels. He still has to take steps in this. So to speak, Donny now only wins three out of ten [duels]. There must be nine at that position. It is a place with many responsibilities."


He's on Ajax's Long List of 'Talent of the Year' Winners

Donny van de Beek

Since 1999, Ajax's biggest academy prospects have been presented with the Talent van De Toekomst (Talent of the Future), an annual award for their most exciting youngster who hasn't yet become a first-team regular in Amsterdam.


In the two years prior to its name being changed to the Abdelhak Nouri award, Justin Kluivert and Matthijs de Ligt were crowned as the academy's biggest star for the future.


Van de Beek was presented with the award in 2015, going on to join the likes of Christian Eriksen and Wesley Sneijder by establishing themselves in Ajax's first-team after being dubbed as the academy's Talent van De Toekomst. 


He Played 57 of Ajax's 58 Matches Last Season

Donny van de Beek

For all of Van de Beek's quality on the pitch last season, merely the fact he was available for as many games as he was proved to be one of Ajax's most important qualities last season.


Making more appearances than any other player for the Dutch champions last season - level only with Daley Blind on 57 out of the club's 58 matches - Van de Beek was an irreplaceable part of Erik ten Hag's side, only missing their cup match against Roda JC.


Since breaking into the senior squad in Amsterdam almost four years ago, the 22-year-old midfielder hasn't been forced to miss a single match through injury, only ever being left out of a matchday squad to rest or for tactical reasons.