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Matthijs de Ligt made his debut for Ajax in 2016 and became their youngest captain in March 2018, at the age of 18. The Dutch centre-back scored eight goals in 77 league games, won the Dutch domestic league and cup double last season. The 19-year-old reached a Europa League final in 2017.
Last season, he scored the winning goal against Juventus to send Ajax through to the Champions League semi-finals, where they lost to Tottenham. On the international level, De Ligt made his debut for the Netherlands in March 2017.
Those reasons truly explain why the 19-year-old has been linked with Manchester United, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.
“I believe any player would like to play for FC Barcelona at some point in their career,” de Ligt confessed in an interview with “NU Sport” after his teammate and close friend Frenkie de Jong finalized his move to the La Liga champions.
However, Italian champions Juventus have completed the £67.5m signing of 19-year-old.
De Ligt has signed a five-year deal with the Serie A side and they said, that the fee was “payable in five financial years” with “additional costs of 10.5m euros (£9m)”.
There are three main reasons why De Ligt didn’t join De Jong at the Camp Nou.
Super Agent Mino Raiola, his commission and wage demands
Matthijs de Ligt’s agent is super Mino Raiola and it was never easy to deal with him. Raiola was asking for 12 million euros per year for his client but Barcelona didn’t want to reach the kind of salary. The Catalan club also wasn’t willing to pay the amount that Raiola was looking for. He reportedly earned himself 11 million euros in commission for De Ligt’s move to Juventus.
Barcelona have enough centre-backs, while De Ligt has a room of improvement
Barcelona already have Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti and Jean-Clair Todibo for De Ligt’s position and they didn’t absolutely need to sign a new centre-back. While De Ligt himself still has several areas of his game to improve.
De Ligt’s desire
Frenkie de Jong was very keen to join Barcelona.
“In my mind, I have had the following list for a long time: Ajax-Arsenal-Barcelona, call it the Marc Overmars route,” De Jong told Voetbal International.
De Ligt, on the other hand, wasn’t as committed to the idea of signing with Barca. Juventus have been persistent and made the first contact with the player. Finally, Cristiano Ronaldo himself asked him to join Juventus.