Matthijs de Ligt has spoken for the first time since completing his long-awaited €75m transfer from Ajax to Juventus.
De Ligt finally got his dream move to Juventus finalised on Thursday morning after successfully passing a medical and signing a five-year contract, which is worth €12m per season.
The Serie A champions managed to fend off strong competition from both Barcelona and Manchester United for the Netherlands international, who is regarded as one of Europe’s brightest young prospects.
Now, De Ligt has opened on how Italy’s rich history of centre-backs played a big role in his decision to leave boyhood club Ajax for Juventus this summer.
“I have been fascinated by the Italian way of defending from an early age,” he told the club’s website.
“Many of my idols from the past are also Italians. Such as [Paolo] Maldini, [Franco] Baresi, [Alessandro] Nesta, [Fabio] Cannavaro and [Gaetano] Scirea.
“When you talk about defenders, then you soon talk about those names.
“I actually fell in love with the Italian way of defending and I made a choice based on that.”
De Ligt had been at Ajax since the age of nine and debuted for the senior team in September 2016. He went on to clock up a total of 117 appearances, while scoring 13 goals and providing seven assists.
The 19-year-old left Amsterdam as the club’s youngest-ever captain and a Golden Boy award winner.
Explaining his Ajax departure, De Ligt said: “It was a difficult choice.
“There were several options, but you always have to look what’s best for you.
“Various factors play a role. For me, it’s very important to know how much you are going to play and how much trust the club [Juventus] has in me.
“They also mentioned that they really wanted me.
“They saw a future for me and they could improve me in certain areas.”
De Ligt could make his Juventus debut on Sunday against Tottenham in the club’s in the International Champions Cup (ICC) opener in Singapore.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) July 18, 2019