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'Money played no role at all': De Ligt defends decision to join Juventus

The Dutch teenager turned down interest from several clubs to join the Italian champions.

The defender made his debut against Spurs in Singapore today.
The defender made his debut against Spurs in Singapore today.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

NEW JUVENTUS CENTRE-BACK Matthijs de Ligt has refuted claims that money played a big part in his high-profile move to Italy this month.

The 19-year-old shot to prominence at Ajax last season as they reached the semi-final stage of the Champions League and lifted the Eredivisie title, sparking a race for his signature this summer featuring some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

The likes of Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona all registered an interest in the Netherlands international before he rubber-stamped his €75 million move to Turin, with the latter seemingly convinced that the teenager would eventually opt for Camp Nou.

When his decision was delayed, the Spanish champions, who claimed to have agreed terms with the defender, voiced their frustration as new suitors appeared on what felt like a daily basis.

At one stage, a potential move to Paris was reportedly dismissed due to the fact that club officials refused to guarantee the Dutchman the same wage structure as star forward Kylian Mbappe. 

De Ligt, however, has played suggestions that money was the be-all and end-all, reflecting on a summer of speculation that lurched from claim and counter-claim to the downright ridiculous.

“Money played no role at all in my choice for a new club,” he said in an interview with VI. “Everyone who knows me, knows that. 

“Money has never been ‘leading’. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I will respect that, but some people were saying things like that very easily.

Every day there was something new. Suddenly, even my father was too fat and that’s why one of the clubs [Manchester United] didn’t want me. That makes you go: ‘come on man’.

He was also quick to defend the part played by his agent Mino Raiola, who was instrumental in constructing his eventual move to the Italian champions.

“He has a lot of experience,” said De Ligt of Raiola, who also looks after global stars such as Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Balotelli.

“I think there may be a certain negative image of him in Holland, but I certainly don’t experience it that way. I think if you ask all of his players if Mino does a good job for them, everyone would say yes. 

“That’s the most important thing. It’s not about what other people say about him, it’s about what he can do for me.”

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