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Matthijs de Ligt ‘surprised’ by the level of Juventus team

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Matthijs de Ligt admits he’s been taken by surprise at the level of his Juventus team-mates and accepts it won’t be easy to become a starter.

De Ligt is Juventus’ biggest signing of the summer transfer window after turning down Barcelona and Manchester United for a €75m move to Turin.

The former Ajax captain is expected to become a key figure in squad for the new season, with Juventus determined to carry over their domestic dominance into the Champions League.

Although De Ligt’s arrival has caused Daniele Rugani to question his own future amid the growing competition for a spot in the Bianconeri’s backline.

As highly-rated as he may be, though, the Netherlands international doesn’t expect an automatic spot in the Juventus line-up.

“I’m very happy with my teammates, they’re really friendly. I learn from them every day,” De Ligt told Tuttosport.

“There are many experienced players here, so I’m really happy. I’m surprised at the level of everyone here.

“They’re focused and no-one stands out because all the individuals are very strong. Obviously, it’ll be difficult to be a starter with such strong players, but I’ll do my best.”

The 19-year-old previously spoke on his admiration for Italian football and the nation’s rich history of great centre-backs. He even idolised legends like Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Nesta and Fabio Cannavaro.

But emulating his idols and becoming the next great defender for Juventus isn’t at the top of De Ligt’s to-do list.

“I’ve just got to Juventus, so I’m not thinking about club legends and giants. Obviously, I know there are great expectations of me, but I’m not thinking about it,” said the Dutchman.

“I try to live for the moment, working to improve every day. After that, we’ll see what happens.

“I don’t know if we’re the best defensive unit in the world. We have good players, we all have to fight, but only two will play.

“Still, I don’t know if we’re the best group in the world.”

De Ligt and Juventus will return to action against Atletico Madrid for their final International Champions Cup match in Stockholm, Sweden, on August 10.

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE – JULY 21: Matthijs de Ligt (2nd L) of Juventus is seen prior to the International Champions Cup match between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur at the Singapore National Stadium on July 21, 2019 in Singapore. (Photo by Pakawich Damrongkiattisak/Getty Images)