Matthijs de Ligt has chosen his next club, bringing one of the most highly anticipated transfer sagas of the summer to an end. The Dutch wonder-kid touched down in Turin late Tuesday night ahead of his move to Juventus, who had to beat out stiff competition from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Liverpool, PSG, and Manchester United to secure the 19-year-old’s signature.
The Bianconeri have cruised past their domestic competition in recent years, winning Serie A a record 8 consecutive times, but their domestic domination hasn’t quite translated onto the continental stage. After losing in the Champions League final twice in 4 seasons, Juventus decided enough was enough and agreed a landmark deal to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2018. With the top scorer in Champions League history and the man who had singlehandedly eliminated them from the competition the previous season, now in their squad, Juventus believed a squad that had repeatedly fallen just short at the final hurdle now had what it took to make it over the top.
Ronaldo’s Juventus entered the Champions League among the favorites but were shockingly eliminated in the quarterfinals by a plucky young Ajax side led by a certain 19 year old captain by the name of Matthijs de Ligt. And it was de Ligt in fact who scored the winning goal away in Turin that sent Juventus packing and Ajax through to the semifinals.
Although Ronaldo was unsuccessful in leading Juventus to Champions League glory, he may have helped secure them an even bigger prize in the long-run. After Portugal defeated the Netherlands in this summer’s Nations League final, Ronaldo walked up to de Ligt to congratulate him on his performance and whispered something in the Dutchman’s ear.
“He asked me to come to Juventus.”
While it is naive to think that a simple word from Ronaldo was all it took to convince de Ligt that a move Turin would be the best next step in his career, it is entirely possible that having arguably the best player in the world plead with him to come join his team was that extra push that Juventus needed to convince de Ligt to join.
De Ligt had every single top club vying for his signature with each trying to offer him a bigger contract than the last, but the decision was about more than just money for him.
“For me, the most important thing is to know that I will be important in the team I go to and play a lot of games.”
At Juventus he will get just that. In addition to the Ronaldo factor, de Ligt will get regular first team football in a defense that desperately needed to get younger, he will grow leaps and bounds as a defender playing alongside and learning from the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, and will be on a team that is ready to compete for silverware now. The future is bright for Juventus who can now rest assured that they will be in safe hands at the back for years to come.