The story appears on

Page A16

July 19, 2019

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

Juve de Ligt as defender signs up

Juventus announced the signing of Dutch teenager Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax Amsterdam yesterday, having secured one of the most sought-after young players in world soccer for 75 million euros (US$84.25 million).

The 19-year-old Netherlands international, who captained his former club in its thrilling run to the UEFA Champions League semifinals last season, has signed a five-year deal with the Italian Serie A champion.

“It’s the news all Bianconeri fans have been waiting to hear all summer: Matthijs de Ligt is officially a Juventus player!” the club said on its website.

The contract includes a buyout clause of 150 million euros that will be activated in its third year, broadcaster Sky Italy reported on Wednesday.

De Ligt becomes one of the most expensive defenders in the world, with his national team captain Virgil van Dijk top of the list following his move to Liverpool from Southampton for 75 million pounds (US$94 million) in 2018.

After breaking into the Ajax first team aged 17 in 2016, de Ligt established himself as a regular starter over the following season and soon became the most coveted defender in Europe due to his strength, anticipation and ability on the ball.

He played 90 minutes in 17 of Ajax’s 18 UCL matches last season, scoring three times in a run which culminated in a semifinal defeat to English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur on away goals.

De Ligt did win the Eredivisie title and Dutch Cup in his final campaign at Ajax, alongside teammate Frenkie De Jong, who has since joined Barcelona.

Spanish media reported that de Ligt had also been courted by the Catalans, but the player’s agent Mino Raiola said at Juventus’ headquarters on Wednesday that the Italian club was always the preferred destination.

“It’s not a question of who wanted him most, but Juve are the best team for him. For a defender it is important to come to Italy,” Raiola said. “If you are to become the greatest in the world, it is a necessary stage.

“He’s the No. 1 among the youngsters. He’s like (Pavel) Nedved, maybe more than him, for his mentality and he’s like Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) for his ambition. He has it all.”

De Ligt had told Netherlands’ NOS television in June that Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo asked him to join the Turin-based club at the end of the Nations League final after Portugal beat the Dutch 1-0.

De Ligt’s signing follows that of midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot by Juventus, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also back after one season away at Paris Saint-Germain.

He becomes the fifth Dutch player for Juventus after Ouasim Bouy, Eljero Elia, Edwin van der Sar and Edgar Davids.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend