|Name||Matthijs de Ligt|
|Org||Dutch National Team|
|Club as Player||Juventus|
2019 09 06 Retrieve
[Being left on the bench for Juventus’s opening match should not have come as a big surprise, especially with Bonucci and Chiellini having already formed a reliable defensive partnership for years] The criticism that comes at you via social media if you do not play one match does not affect me, but I do read it. And to be honest, it surprises me. My reserve role just fits into the process of a young boy going to a top European club.
[De Ligt is not naive, he knows he can improve in all aspects of his game; technically, tactically and physically. It is a challenge he relishes and something that excited him when he went through his medical at Juventus’s state-of-the-art J Medical facility] The medical lasted 90 minutes and they even checked up on my teeth. The most interesting thing for me was that they could also see how much potential I have physically. The outcome of that was a positive surprise, because there is a lot of unfulfilled potential still. I would rather hear that I still have 60 per cent room for growth than to find out I am already at 90% of my potential. There is still a lot of room for improvement. It’s now all about fulfilling that potential. If you look at Cristiano Ronaldo and some of the other stars, they are perfect role models. They show me how much I can still gain by looking after my body even better
2019 09 24 Retrieve
[De Ligt ‘really happy’ with Juventus choice despite testing start to life in Turin] There have been many changes but it is going well, I am really happy with the choice I made in the summer when I signed for Juventus. I am learning Italian. Both the language and the football, very different, compared to the Dutch one. I am very happy to be here. It’s really nice to receive an award with the votes of the other players, it’s a great recognition. It was an exciting and enormously proud moment to get on stage with those players, some of whom are literally living legends. It is a great honour to be here. I was lucky enough to have played with both Van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo, but frankly I can’t choose between the two.
2019 11 02 Retrieve
[De Ligt savours scoring ‘special’ Juventus winner as he settles into Serie A] I am really happy, of course. It was a really important game, as Inter won also. We won 1-0 and it was my goal, so [it was] really special
[De Ligt was arguably fortunate not to concede a penalty for handball in the first half] I am just standing like this and the ball hit me. I knew immediately it was not a penalty, because the rules are if my arms are down here, it’s not a penalty
[De Ligt is confident he is starting to grow into his surroundings after finding the transition a little challenging following his move from Ajax] Obviously, when you come to a new club, it’s always going to be hard. It’s going well, the guys made me feel welcome and I think I’m improving every game. I hope that I showed tonight what I can bring to the team. My team-mates are really nice, Higuain gave me an amazing assist and I’m really happy
2019 11 21 Retrieve
[De Ligt rejects Patrick Kluivert’s claim he is unhappy in Turin] You know there will always be a magnifying glass on you if you are bought for so much money. After my first game against Napoli, that has become even worse. But I actually go the extra mile in every game. I get the appreciation of my teammates, the fans and everything else. I am happy with how it’s going
I don’t regret the fact I have moved to Juventus. They are saying and writing a lot of stuff. The fact that it comes from someone like Patrick Kluivert might make it extra credible […] But I didn’t speak to him myself, so I guess that’s an assumption
2019 12 26 Retrieve
[De Ligt hope to stay at Juventus for a long time] I’m very happy in Turin, I hope to stay here for a long time. I was really proud [to join Juventus] of course, when a big club like Juve want you it’s a big honour. I always liked Juve as a club and now I’m happy and proud to wear this shirt. I feel I’m improving every day. I train with the best players in the world. With Bonucci we understand each other very well and complement each other. I know what he can do and he knows what I can do well. We try to form a good pairing. The most important thing of all is to always want to learn, grow and become a better player. I want to win as many trophies as possible, we want to achieve important goals. If you play for Juventus you must always try to win everything. And that’s what I want to do
2020 01 15 Retrieve
[How has De Ligt gone from ‘invincible’ at Ajax to benched at Juventus?] At Ajax, I felt invincible, today it’s different. I don’t know myself why I’m not playing as well as I’d like. All I can do is continue to work, to do my best and to try to learn from my team-mates.
2020 03 05 Retrieve
[De Ligt explains picking Juventus over Barcelona as he remains on learning curve] 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
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
2020 03 23 Retrieve
[AnneKee’s father Keye Molenaar has praised Juventus for its handling of what has been a very difficult situation] Matthijs tested negative, so consequently AnneKee has not needed any test. I have to say that Juventus over these difficult days have shown themselves to be far more than a top club. It was a real family for the kids. There was a little anxiety at first, especially as my daughter has become very close with Michela, Rugani’s girlfriend, who is also positive for Coronavirus
[Reflecting on their high-profile move to Serie A] Aside from this being a tricky time, AnneKee and Matthijs are really in love with Turin and Italy. This is their first real home together and they’re not missing Amsterdam. They are so in love with Turin that they could stay for five years, maybe ten
2020 04 14 Retrieve
[Matthijs de Ligt said he felt like a child in a candy shops when he first entered the Juventus dressing room] Juventus told me also like, ‘All right, you’re young, but also the reason we want to buy you is because you are already really mature, you know how to handle pressure’ and stuff like that. They also said to me it’s difficult for a 19-year-old to go to another country and of course it’s going to be difficult for you but we have confidence in you that you will find your place soon. Obviously when I came into the dressing room the first time I was a little bit like a child in a candy shop, like, ‘There’s Buffon, there’s Ronaldo’
In the beginning you’re just a little bit looking like who’s that, who’s that and stuff like how is he? After really two months I felt really like I could be more myself
In the beginning there was already a lot of eyes on me in the games. In the second game I played I made an own goal and then you know there’s even more pressure. I knew in the training I was training good, I felt good, but in the games it was still a little bit of adaptation to a new style of play. In the beginning it was difficult but I think step by step I improved in that case
2020 04 18 Retrieve
[De Ligt urged against Juventus exit by Stam as talk of interest from Man Utd resurfaces] In my opinion, it is essential that you stay because only in this way can you improve, compare yourself with the best, learn to manage the pressure in important matches in the Champions League and Serie A. My opinion towards him is positive, in the last few months he has expressed himself really well. He has been criticised a bit, but the initial difficulties were due to the fact that he had to understand how to adapt to a different type of football, and he’s still very young. Matthijs plays in a great club that has great players and the pressures he is facing are much greater. Furthermore, you have to consider that the opponents faced in Italy are very different from those encountered in the Netherlands. Juventus invested a substantial amount to get him, many think it has been too much, but in my opinion you just have to think about the continuous growth this boy has had up to now. For me he has been very good so far.
In my opinion it is normal for such a young player to have difficulties. He started playing in a new league and in a top club. In the Netherlands it was simpler as the teams he faced were of a lower level. But it is really where he grew up, Ajax was a challenge for him. This experience provided the self-confidence necessary to face stronger teams. The current result is this: Juventus believes in him in the same way that Matthijs has trust in his own qualities. He is an intelligent boy on and off the field, he wants to learn and you can see that he always wants to do better. This is a good individual quality. He must also learn Italian as it is important to know how to communicate with his team-mates
2020 05 01 Retrieve
[De Ligt didn’t want to be a €75m defender but Juventus star is now learning from Van Dijk & Bonucci] I played a lot in midfield, scored some goals, provided assists, and then suddenly they told me it would be better for my career to go one position back, to centre-back. At the beginning, I was thinking, ‘I don’t like being a defender,’ but now I’m starting to realise that the way I was brought up as a midfielder is helping me. So, I’m really happy that this was the development I had to go through. Since the emergence of that Barcelona team, the ‘tiki-taka’ team, everybody has wanted to play from the back. And to play from the back, you need defenders who are good with the ball. That’s why technical ability is really important in my role. It is important to know for yourself if you’re mentally right; if you’re ready, nobody can stop you. That is the thing that I started to realise and that is good also: to take a step back and see things that maybe you can improve. That is what I do. What I am saying is that mental ability is really important for defenders
[De Ligt said of his development, which includes partnering Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk with the Netherlands] It’s great to play with one of the best players in the world. And I guess we are a good duo. And now at Juventus with [Leonardo] Bonucci and [Giorgio] Chiellini, they are defenders with a lot of experience who know what it’s all about. I try to learn from them
2020 06 06 Retrieve
[Matthijs de Ligt says Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest player of his generation] Ronaldo is the best of his generation and a huge example for young players. I always try to improve the way I play by watching him because even in training he has a crazy intensity and you wonder if he really is 35 years old. We really have a good team, a lot of good guys. The most fun are the South Americans. Beside Ronaldo, I was impressed by Paulo Dybala and Rodrigo Bentancur: both players with an amazing technique. Rodrigo in particular is underestimated, he will have a great future ahead of him
Gigi could literally be my father… he is 42! Can you imagine it! The point is that if you see him playing you would say he is 30. He is a top guy and always available with me. I’m learning a lot from him
[De Ligt says he is going nowhere, despite rumours circulating as to his future] They invented many things about me: the truth is that I’m really happy in Turin and to be able to train every day with extraordinary players. I have the feeling of improving day by day. So, yes, I’m very happy.