Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt is doing nothing to quash reports of his move to Serie A giants Juventus with his latest comments praising Cristiano Ronaldo sending the media into a transfer frenzy.
Following scintillating performances in the Eredivisie and the Champions League last campaign, de Ligt has emerged as one of the hottest prospects up for grabs this summer transfer window.
Barcelona were initial favourites to swoop him but their deals were bettered by the likes of Paris Saint Germain and Juventus in recent weeks. The Bianconeri are currently leading the race for his pursuit and are reportedly closing in on a €70 million deal for the Dutchman, with his switch to Turin looking likelier by the day.
The 19-year-old had met Juventus’ frontman Ronaldo during the UEFA Nations League final during which the Portuguese wasted no time in asking him to join the Old Lady.
De Ligt’s former coach at Ajax U18, Brian Roy, has also urged him to make the transfer happen as he believes it is the best option for the teenager at the moment.
De Ligt has now declared his admiration for Ronaldo, in an interview that has further fuelled his exit rumours. Speaking to Dutch publication Voetbal International (via Fox Sports Asia), he said, “During the season, at the club, and during the various competitions, you really do not have time to reflect. But there are times when I realise that this is not normal.”
“Like recently, when I dined with my football friends from the past. Adidas organised that dinner. There were also childhood friends and we started reminiscing. We remembered how I always wanted to be Cristiano Ronaldo when we played football in the garden.”
“That was especially during his time when he played for Manchester United. I also had his football shirt. That dinner was right after the [Champions League 2018-19 quarter-finals] games with Juventus, in which I had to play against Ronaldo himself, something that is really special.”
It remains to be seen whether de Ligt will play in the same team as his idol, and his future will likely be confirmed in the next few days. If the rumours are true, Juventus will look to complete the deal as soon as possible.