Ajax and Holland legend Ruud Krol has hit back at Marco Van Basten’s suggestion that Matthjs De Ligt made a mistake joining Juventus: ‘Italy always remains the school par excellence for defenders’.
Former Milan striker Van Basten recently told Ziggo Sports “I think De Ligt would have learned more at Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester City. He would also have played in a more interesting league. Serie A isn’t competitive.”
Speaking in an exclusive interview with TuttoJuve, former Ajax defender Krol explained why joining the Bianconeri was the right choice for the yound centre-back.
“It was a season that was at least initially complicated, Matthijs had to adapt to a totally different football from the Dutch one,” he told the Juventus news website.
“It took him a few months, but little by little, he was good at winning with Juve. In my opinion Sarri made a mistake: he had to make him play on the right, just as he played in Ajax. So he would have had more confidence, instead the Juventus coach always used Bonucci.”
What about Van Basten’s recent comments about De Ligt joining Juventus?
“I agree when he talks about the lower level of Serie A, in fact the level has gone down a bit compared to when we played. But it is not true that De Ligt has not improved, Italy always remains the school par excellence for defenders and for me it was right to choose Juventus. This was a very special year for everyone, I am convinced that Sarri’s real defensive mechanisms will be seen next year.
“Absolutely yes,he made the right choice to come to Juventus, he has already improved and only in Italy will he have the chance to become the strongest of all. And Juventus has also made an excellent choice, they’ve invested a lot of money but they’ve secured a great defender for many years.”
Maybe seeing him paired with the “Doctor“, as you call Chiellini, would have been completely different?
“That’s right, unfortunately he was almost always injured this year. The ‘Doctor’ would have been even more important for his position on the field, on the left he was often insecure and this did not help Matthijs in the initial games.”
There is talk of another Dutchman for Juventus, Donny van de Beek. What do you think?
“He is an excellent player, but for Italian football I think a midfielder with other characteristics is better. Juventus has excellent players in that role, Bentancur exploded this year and Rabiot also did very well in the season finale.”
What are your thoughts on the Champions League? Can our teams pass the round of 16?
“I have always considered Barcelona to be one of the favourites, but currently they are not in the right condition. They have not been good at replacing Xavi and Iniesta, they have sold Arthur and this season they have also lost domination in Spain. On the contrary, however, Napoli did well and could have some chance of passing the round if they were to repeat the Italian Cup final. Juventus are favourites, but the one with Lyon seems almost more friendly. Especially because the French will come from a long period of inactivity, and they have great players. Atalanta? they can do it.”
Which Dutch player would look good in Italy?
“This is a good question, even if it is difficult to answer. It is difficult to choose a name, if we think for example of Kluivert who is no longer playing and has made the transition from Ajax to Rome. If a young Dutchman has to arrive in a very complex championship like the Italian one, he must have the possibility to play. Exactly like Juventus did with de Ligt. Otherwise I think it is completely useless.”