Dutch sensation and Ajax skipper Matthijs de Ligt has been crowned the 2018 Golden Boy as the most promising Under-21 player in Europe.

De Ligt has been a subject of transfer speculation to LaLiga champions Barcelona and Premier League title holders Manchester City,  the 19-year-old centre-back claimed the Tuttosport award after receiving the most votes from an international panel.

De Ligt saw off opposition from Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, AC Milan forward Patrick Cutrone, Roma winger Justin Kluivert and Real Madrid teenager Vinicius Junior to win the accolade.

PSG forward Kylian Mbappe was the last recipient of the award and he went on to help the French team win the World Cup.

Netherlands international De Ligt – under contract until 2021 – has been a revelation since making his debut for boyhood club Ajax in 2016, establishing himself in the heart of the Eredivisie club’s defence.

A first international call-up following last year and De Ligt continues to attract interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs, with Barca reportedly at the front of the queue.

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