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De Ligt: ‘I knew I was going to Juventus’

July 22, 2019

New signing Matthijs De Ligt revealed he knew he was going to Juventus for some time and that money played not part in his decision to join the Bianconeri.

The 19-year-old made his club debut in Juve’s 3-2 loss against Tottenham Hotspur and explained to VI.nl that his decision to come to Turin had been made for some time.

“A lot has been said and written and it seemed that I made a decision overnight, but of course that was not the case,” he told the Dutch paper.

“I have always told Mino that I would not announce my decision until after the Nations League because I wanted to fully focus on playing football.

“But actually I had known for a long time. It was only very annoying that so much was speculated. I tried to close myself off, although with all the social media that is never entirely possible.

“Money played no role in my choice. Everyone who knows me knows that too. Mino is my agent, he goes over the business side, but that only came after my active choice was made. Money has never been a leading factor.

“There were indeed many people who advised me to go to Barcelona. But I said to myself: ‘Put everything together and see what is best for me’. Of course I can listen to all those opinions, but I’m the one who makes the choice.

“(Frenkie) De Jong and I have often talked about what we were going to do. We have been very transparent with each other. It would have been great if we had played together, but our careers should not depend on each other’s decision.

“Everyone has their own career. I have looked at all the pros and cons and have crossed things out. Ultimately, you have to feel good about the club that suits you. I had that feeling with Juventus.”

 

Attention turned to the involvement of football super-agent Mino Raiola and his part in the move.

“With a large transfer it is also just important how you enter. Then I know that I am very comfortable with Mino. I also think that we complement each other very well. Mino is fiercer, I am more relaxed and I think that mix is very good.

“There may be a certain negative image of him. I think if you ask every player who is accompanied by him if Mino does a good job, they all say yes. That is the most important. It is not about what people say about him, but what he can do for me.

“When I think of Italy, I think of defending. Italy has produced very good players, I immediately think of defenders such as Cannavaro, Maldini, Baresi. Defending is an art here. I am happy to be able to develop further at a world club in Italy.

“I even have a Juve shirt from when I was seven years old. I still have that. Juve is also about good football with good players, but the most important thing is winning.

“You see that mentality with players like Buffon, Chiellini and Ronaldo. They know what it’s all about & I hope they can learn me that.

“The medical examination, for example, is so extensive, they look everything up and out. Whether a scar from five years ago can become dangerous. I found it very interesting, I have already learned things about keeping fit that I did not know yet.

“At Ajax it was all about fun, but now I’m in a big man’s world. It is working, working, working. To be honest, it appeals to me, that is a mentality that suits me.

 

“At Ajax I defended purely on my feeling, I just did what I thought. In Italy I hope to improve my tactical skills. How you should stand, what position should I take? I think I can improve a lot in that.

“Sarri is known for that and I have already discussed this with him. During my first training I immediately had a tactical lesson from the assistant trainer of one hour. How to choose position and how Juventus defends.

“I will have to show myself. They have Chiellini, Bonucci, Rugani and Demiral, which are four top players. It does not feel like I am already a starter because they have paid me a lot of money. That’s not how it works at clubs like this.

“They look at the performance. If you perform well, you play. If you perform less, you won’t.

Juventus are aiming to win the Champions League after a disappointing campaign in which Ajax beat them in the semi-finals.

“There are several clubs that can win the Champions League, Juventus is one of them. Juve is one of the top six teams in the world. It is therefore logical that they have set that as their goal. But a club like Juventus must always play for all prizes.

“Fortunately almost every player speaks English, I was surprised about that, but it makes it a lot easier. I already had a chat with everyone, I already knew them a little and of course they already know me from the matches against Ajax.

“From now on only my achievements at#Juventus count. I like challenges and this feels like a fantastic new challenge. I wanted this. I know that if I want to reach the top, I have to step out of my comfort zone completely and dare to jump into the deep.

“I don’t feel pressure because of the high price tag that hangs around my neck. At a club like Juventus it is always there. I’ll just have to perform. I think that pressure makes me sharper and more alert.”

Translation from Bianconeri Zone.

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