‘I could grow faster at Juventus’: Matthijs de Ligt reveals reasons he turned Barcelona in favour of Serie A giants
Matthijs de Ligt rejected a move to Barcelona last summer as he believed he would become a more complete footballer by joining Juventus instead.
The centre-back joined for £57.5million from Ajax and has made 26 appearances during his debut campaign.
Having developed into one of Europe’s best defenders at the age of 20, de Ligt had his pick of European clubs to join this summer.
Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt opted for Juventus in a £57.5million deal from Ajax last summer
De Ligt told Ziggo Sport: ‘I had offers last summer from Juventus, PSG and Barcelona, so I studied the various options and at the end of the day concluded I could grow faster at Juve.
‘They have a particular style and I knew being here would make me a more complete player.’
The defender is already an established player for his country but has endured a mixed season
De Ligt has endured a mixed debut campaign in Italy under Maurizio Sarri, but insisted that he is learning all the time and believes there is more improvement to come.
‘There are more eyes on you and people expect a great deal, all of which is new compared to my time at Ajax.
‘I think that I’ve done well in every match since the start of November and I am happy that the club has faith in me.
‘I was on the bench for a little while and talked it over with the coach. I then had that problem with my shoulder and then a groin strain, so I couldn’t train.
‘The coach [Maurizio Sarri] told me very clearly: ‘Calm down, we need you further along in the season and in your best shape, so there’s no rush.’
‘I also had to learn the language, as at the start it was just me and Aaron Ramsey who couldn’t speak Italian. We both spoke English, so spent a lot of time together.
‘[Giorgio] Chiellini also speaks English and he helped me a great deal. It was tough at first, when we sat around the table and everyone spoke Italian, but I took lessons along with my girlfriend.’