Mathijs De Ligt has played down Cristiano Ronaldo’s role in his decision to join Juventus, saying it was personal ambition and Maurizio Sarri that convinced him to join the Old Lady.
De Ligt was one of the most sought after players this summer with Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain and Manchester United all interested in him following a season which saw him led Ajax to a league and cup double alongside an incredible run to the semi-finals of the champions league.
Barcelona were said to be in the pole position to sign him, but the 19-year-old took a U-turn to complete a £67.5m switch to Juventus.
There were speculations the former Ajax captain decided to move to Turin following his conversation with Cristiano Ronaldo during Portugal’s victory over the Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League clash between the two sides last month.
Following that encounter, De Ligt revealed Ronaldo told him to join Juventus ahead of other clubs. Nevertheless, the 19-year-old revealed that did not play a part in his decision to join the Italian champions.
Speaking to reporters at his unveiling, the Dutch international revealed it was a phone call with Maurizio Sarri and personal ambition that convinced him.
“After the Nations League final I was already sure that I wanted to join Juventus, but it was still a big compliment to have Cristiano ask me to join here but it didn’t make the difference,” De Ligt told reporters at his first press conference as a Juve player.
“I came here because Italy is one of the most traditional countries for defenders. Juventus is a great forwards step for me.
“I spoke to [Maurizio] Sarri on the phone before coming just to get to know each other. He was one of the reasons that I wanted to join here, I’ve heard a lot of good things about him and I like his footballing philosophy and how he prepares his defence.
“The photo of me in a Juventus shirt was taken when I was about six or seven, at that time Fabio Cannavaro was a defender that I admired. I always had a good feeling about Juventus and I’ve always been a fan.”