Matthijs de Ligt is adamant he is ‘extremely happy’ at Juventus and has no desire to leave this summer amid talk suggesting he could be targeted by two of European football’s big hitters.
The 20-year-old rejected the chance to join United and Barca when he completed a £67.8million to Juve last summer, but it’s been claimed that the Catalan giants are ready to launch a fresh move.
Rumours persist too that United could launch a fresh move for De Ligt after the player endured a tough first term in Serie A, making 27 appearances for Juve before the season was suspended, although he did start to settle as the campaign progressed.
However, the Dutchman has reiterated his desire to stay at Juve for the long haul.
“My first feeling was happiness: Juventus bought me, one of the biggest clubs in the world,” he told Tuttosport.
“Compared to life at Ajax, everything was different. Let’s say the first big difference that struck me was the international stature of the club.
“Then there was the welcome given to me by my new teammates, an exceptional group of lads.
“All of them were really nice to me and helpful. They immediately made me feel part of a family.
“I’m very happy at Juventus. I found out during this period without football that someone made up a few things about me.
“I’m really happy to be here, training every day with extraordinary players. I have the desire to improve every day so, yes, I’m happy.”
De Ligt was then asked about who he rated as the Bianconeri’s star men and he said there were three players that had impressed him the most.
“To be honest, the general level of the team is really high. Obviously there’s Ronaldo, but I won’t name him because everyone knows who Cristiano is and what he can do, ” he said.
“Therefore, I’ll say there are two more players who struck me: one is [Paolo] Dybala, who has truly stunning technique.
“The other, and it might sound strange to some, is Rodrigo Bentancur, a player with truly amazing technical ability.
“I’d say he’s quite underrated. He’s a great player with a great future ahead of him.”
De Ligt praise for Maurizio Sarri
De Ligt also had plenty of praise for Juve coach Maurizio Sarri, claiming his mix of tactics and technique was similar to that of some of the Netherlands’ greatest ever coaches.
“[He is] a tactician. He’s very attentive to that side of the game and he has an extremely precise idea of football,” De Ligt added.
“He wants us to build from the back and play technical football, more or less like what I was used to at Ajax.
“Basically, you can say that he’s very ‘Dutch’, even if his Italian spirit remains strong. It could be said that he’s Italy’s answer to Total Football.”