Despite being labelled as the main culprit in the Netherland’s disappointing elimination from Euro 2020, Matthijs de Ligt still has his admirers in the Italian peninsula.

The Dutchman received his marching orders after a deliberate handball against the Czech Republic, which culminated in his national team’s 0-2 defeat in the round of 16.

Even prior to this incident, Milan legend, Marco Van Basten, criticized the 21-year-old for his style of play, claiming that he is yet to learn much at Juventus.

The former Ajax captain completed his move to the Bianconeri in the summer of 2019, and is widely considered to be one of the best young defenders in the world.

Facing the harsh criticism, Juve’s legendary center back, Sergio Brio came out to defend de Ligt. The Italian served the club for 12 years between 1978 and 1990, playing alongside other great defenders – the likes of Gaetano Scirea, Claudio Gentile and Antonio Cabrini.

“De Ligt is the best defender in Serie A, and I honestly can’t share the opinion of the great Van Basten. In Italy he has grown a lot and is still developing,” said Brio in an interview with Tuttosport via ilBianconero.

“There isn’t a more formative league for defenders than ours. What excites me about De Ligt, moreover, is his age. He is not yet 22, and he is very strong. he can become a real phenomenon, because experience is the factor that improves a defender the most.

“De Ligt will acquire more malice and concentration, becoming stronger and stronger. I have always considered him the real great signing of Juventus in the recent years. Even more important than Ronaldo,” added the former Juventus captain.

“I’m sure of what I’m saying, mainly because I understand young defenders. I predicted a great career for Simon Kjaer when he was still at Palermo.”