Matthijs de Ligt has insisted a chat he had with Cristiano Ronaldo before joining Juventus last summer was not the reason behind his move to the Italian giants.
Juventus signed De Ligt for a reported £67.5m after he captained Ajax to the Dutch title and the Champions League semi-finals last season as a teenager.
When did De Ligt’s chat with Ronaldo happen? Five things to know…
- De Ligt was being tipped for a big transfer in the summer of 2019.
- He had just captained Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals.
- The Dutchman faced Ronaldo’s Portugal in the UEFA Nations League final.
- Ronaldo was seen whispering in his future teammate’s ear during the game.
- But De Ligt insists the chat was not behind his move to Turin.
Not long before his move, De Ligt’s Netherlands and Ronaldo’s Portugal went head-to-head in the UEFA Nations League final, and during the game Ronaldo was seen whispering in De Ligt’s ear.
This led to talk of Ronaldo convincing De Ligt to join Juventus ahead of multiple other suitors including the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona, something that came up when De Ligt was recently interviewed by teammate Wojciech Szczesny.
De Ligt denied the chat was responsible for his choice of Juventus, but the Dutchman did admit it was an “honour” to speak to Ronaldo.
“That’s not the reason,” De Ligt told Sczesny in the interview, which was broadcast on Polish YouTube channel Foot Truck.
“I had a lot of time to choose between the clubs that I could join and when I put everything on paper, Juventus was the best choice.”
The 20-year-old also spoke about his difficult settling-in period at Juventus, for whom he is now beginning to look the part.
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“There were already a lot of eyes on me,” he added. “Then there’s even more pressure, but I knew in training I felt good.
“In games there was still a bit of adaptation. Step by step I improved.”
De Ligt was named in the UEFA Team of the Year in 2019 and will be hoping to replicate his countryman Virgil van Dijk in the future by competing for the Ballon d’Or.