Matthijs de Ligt signed for Juventus in the summer of 2019, and since then, he has been the heart of our defense. Hence as our golden boy turns 22 today, I’d like to look at some of his most memorable moments at the club so far. There were plenty to choose from so I’ve tried to pick the best ones.
Well, it is quite obvious, isn’t it? On July 18 2019, de Ligt signed for us. Each and every Juventus fan was dancing with joy. The long transfer saga was finally over, and the generational talent was part of our club. With just one message – “Hello Bianconeri, This is Matthijs. I am really happy to be here”, he stole our hearts!
After a shaky start to the season , On November 3, the Dutch player scored his first goal for the club in a 1–0 away win over cross-city rivals Torino in the Derby della Mole. Since then, the player never seemed to look back at the unpleasant moments.
Tremendous Tackle vs Atlético Madrid
De Ligt’s dangerous, yet perfectly timed tackle in the dying minutes of the game against the Spanish side in the UEFA Champions League was what prevented Angel Correa from netting an equalizer. Although Dybala scored a crazy goal in that game, Matthijs’s superb last-ditch tackle was the highlight of the game. The timing, the effortless work and the performance, everything was impeccable. Szczesny’s reaction was what we all were feeling at that moment. The monstrous tackle reminded everyone why he is one of the best defenders of the new generation.
The 2019 Scudetto was de Ligt’s first trophy at Juventus. During the last few games of the season, the Dutch wall was playing with a broken shoulder while still carrying the defense, which made the title win even more special for him and the fans. For a player whose journey in his first year in black and white jersey had many ups and downs and faced baseless criticism, ending the season with a trophy was like a fairytale, perfect!
Injury vs Lyon
In the Champions League round of 16 match against Lyon, de Ligt left the pitch after a horrific injury. During a set piece for Juventus, de Ligt took a boot to his head, which led to a cut and his face was covered with blood. As he was treated by the medics on the sidelines, Juventus conceded a goal mainly because of the absence of their best defender on the pitch. But soon enough, Matthijs returned to play and completed the game till the very last whistle from the ref. His return with a bandage around his head and relentless spirit gave us flashbacks of Giorgio Chiellini. Our no.4 proved to be the true successor of our Italian captain. The beast mentality is what makes him different from others.
That Strike against Udinese
On July 13 2020, the 20-yard incredible strike by Matthijs gave us the lead against Udinese, although the match didn’t end up in our favour. By then, de Ligt was already playing with a broken shoulder. But the long-distance finish was a sight for sore eyes.
The Kopa Trophy is an award presented to the best performing player under the age of 21 by France Football. De Ligt won the award in the same year he signed for Juventus. Matthijs, who was the winner of the Golden Boy award for 2018, was the first recipient of the Kopa trophy. While being a Juventus player, de Ligt was also featured in FIFA world XI and UEFA Team of the year for his amazing stint as captain of Ajax in the previous season.
Stadium Roaring HIS Name
On February 2 2020, de Ligt scored the 3rd goal in a match against Fiorentina. It was his first goal in the Juventus stadium and second goal for the club overall. The crowd chanting his name after the beautiful header from a corner was an amazing moment. Day in and day out, the Dutch player was proving that he is a complete defender. The young prince was properly welcomed at home that day.
Copa Italia Performance
The Bianconeri future captain portrayed a rock-solid display against Atalanta in the Copa Italia final. Juventus got a 2-1 victory over the Bergamo side. de Ligt’s flawless defending and a clinical tackle in the second half prevented Atalanta from scoring and guaranteed us the 14th Coppa Italia crown.
Shutting Down All The Rumours
Matthijs was quick to shut all the rumours and fire back at his haters when questioned about his stay at Juventus. In an interview with ESPN, de Ligt said –
“I am very happy at Juve. I feel like a fish in water.”
Matthijs has been always open about his love for the old lady. In a conversation with Sky Italia (via Football-Oranje), de Ligt said:
“For me, it is an honour to play for Juventus, and it will be an even greater honour to be captain. A dream. But that’s not important now”.
The mesmerizing journey of de Ligt at Juventus is not over yet. We might see him grow and become one of the best defenders in football in years to come. While even at a young age, he has been nothing but perfect for the club and country. It’s pretty evident that his peak is yet to come. Once again, we wish our boy very happy returns of the day and hope he keeps winning on the pitch and in life.