Cristiano Ronaldo did not influence Juventus move, says Matthijs de Ligt
By Blake Welton
Last Updated: 19/07/19 4:33pm
Matthijs de Ligt insists Cristiano Ronaldo did not influence his decision to join Juventus after sealing a £67.8m move from Ajax.
The Serie A champions unveiled the much-sought after 19-year-old on Friday, with De Ligt claiming he had already made up his mind to join the club even before Ronaldo asked him about a potential move to the club.
The Netherlands international said last month he had been asked by Portugal's Ronaldo about linking up in Turin following their Nations League final encounter.
"I already had an idea of what team I would join, but I wanted to wait until after the Nations League finals to make a decision," De Ligt told reporters in his first press conference as a Juve player.
"I was only thinking about going on holiday and relaxing, but I was already quite sure it was going to be Juventus. It was a big compliment to have Ronaldo ask me to join, but it didn't make the difference.
"Choosing what team to join was a long process, but eventually I came here because Italy is one of the most traditional countries for defenders. The club is a great step forward for me and it was important to step out of my own country.
"I'm very happy and serene: a lot of people are happy that I joined Juve, but there were also a lot of mixed reactions in the Netherlands for my decision."
De Ligt, who captained his former club in their thrilling run to the Champions League semi-finals last season, said he had always admired the Italian art of defending, and even had a Juventus shirt with Fabio Cannavaro on the back when he was younger.
"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," De Ligt added. "I always had a good feeling about Juventus and I've always been a fan.
"I also chose Juventus for (Maurizio) Sarri, I heard a lot of good things about his style of football, his preparation for games and how he makes his team defend. I came here for him too, it was a strong factor."
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