De Ligt says he is happy at Juventus after reports of Man United swoop
‘I felt like a kid in a candy store when I walked into training and saw Buffon and Ronaldo’: ‘Magnet hands’ Matthijs de Ligt insists he is happy at Juventus after reports claimed Manchester United were ready to swoop
- Matthijs de Ligt opened up on how he felt on his first day with Juventus
- The Dutch defender said it was like being ‘a kid in a candy store’ at training
- He insisted he is happy in Turin and has no desire to leave the club already
- De Ligt, nicknamed ‘Magnet’ due to his volume of handballs, joined last summer
Matthijs De Ligt revealed he felt like ‘a kid in a candy store’ when he arrived for his first day at Juventus as he dismissed suggestions he is already looking to leave the club.
Walking into training and seeing Cristiano Ronaldo, Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini, De Ligt confessed to being initially starstruck by the quality of the Italian champions’ squad following his switch from Ajax.
‘When I first entered the Continassa training centre I felt like a child in a candy store,’ he said, appearing on the ‘FootTruck’ podcast run by team-mate Wojech Szczesny.
Matthjis de Ligt described the feeling of seeing Cristiano Ronaldo at training for the first time
Ronaldo (right) was one of the players the defender (middle) picked out as leaving him feeling like he was ‘a kid in a candy store’ on his first day at the club’s Continassa training facility
De Ligt gave an insightful interview on the podcast of team-mate Wojech Szczesny (centre)
‘There was [Gianluigi] Buffon, there was [Giorgio] Chiellini, there was Cristiano Ronaldo.’
De Ligt won the 2018 Golden Boy award – given to the most promising young player in Europe – and he quickly became the most sought after defender on the continent, with interest from the top clubs in England, Spain, Germany and Italy.
In the UEFA Nations League final, after Ronaldo’s Portugal had beaten De Ligt’s Holland side, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner made a beeline to speak to the defender.
They had a conversation on the pitch, captured by TV cameras, and in the weeks that followed, the centre back completed a £67.8million deal on a five-year contract to join Ronaldo in Turin.
Ronaldo famously had a word in De Ligt’s ear weeks before he opted to move to Juventus
The former Ajax captain joined for £67.8m but quickly found life tough in Italy on the pitch
But speaking on the podcast, De Ligt dismissed that that conversation made us his mind.
‘No, I didn’t chose Juventus for Cristiano Ronaldo, this was not the reason why I came to Italy and Torino,’ the former Ajax captain admitted.
‘I had a lot of time to choose among the clubs that wanted me, but this was the best choice. At Juventus they told me that I was bought because I know how to manage the pressure, they trust me for everything I did at Ajax. I’m happy to live in Torino.’
Even though he is still in his first season with Juventus, there has been reports that Manchester United are ‘ready to make a move’ to get him in the summer to partner him with captain Harry Maguire.
Juventus are keen on reuniting with midfielder Paul Pogba and given the Frenchman has just one year left on his deal at Old Trafford, the Sun reported that United are keen to explore a swap deal for Pogba and De Ligt.
Manchester United are reportedly ready to offer Paul Pogba back to Juventus to get De Ligt
But the defender, despite a difficult adaptation to life on the pitch in Italy, has consistently insisted that he and girlfriend Annekee Molenaar are happy with life in Turin and have no desire to leave in the first year of his deal.
De Ligt’s future took time to sort out last summer due to the money and clubs involved but once it was sorted and he was in Turin, he revealed he was one of the latest to arrive to training, leaving him playing catch-up.
Thrown in by boss Maurizio Sarri during a pre-season tour match, De Ligt soon realised how far behind his team-mates he really was.
‘Last summer I arrived later than the others because of problems between Ajax and Juventus and payment,’ he said.
‘I came about two weeks after you guys started and without training I had to play immediately against Tottenham on the tour in Asia. After twenty minutes I was struggling to breathe!’
Mistakes have followed on the pitch with handball errors earning him the name ‘Magnet’
But the 20-year-old has insisted he and girlfriend Annekee Molenaar are happy in Turin
De Ligt’s early season form with Juventus was under scrutiny following a number of high-profile mistakes.
The former Ajax captain produced a number of handballs but rather than feel sorry for himself, De Ligt revealed it became a joke in the dressing room and he picked up the nickname ‘magnet hands’.
‘When I was in the shower after the match against Torino my friends told me: “it’s incredible, it’s like there is a magnet in your hand!”
‘When I make a mistake I’m not the type who gets angry if someone says something, I like to joke about it.’
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