Matthijs de Ligt's decision to join Juventus surprised Ajax legend Ronald de Boer.

  • Several clubs in Europe were vying for the young Dutchman's signature.

  • Matthijs de Ligt's decision to join Juventus rather than a club like Barcelona or Manchester City surprised football fans including his former youth team coach.

Matthijs de Ligt joined Serie A champions Juventus from Ajax in €75m deal. [Getty]

Ajax legend Ronald de Boer says he was surprised Matthijs de Ligt decided to join Serie club Juventus rather than a club like Barcelona or Manchester City. De Ligt, who is a product of Ajax's famed academy, won the 2018 Golden Boy award and established himself as the most sought after defender on the continent. But, he ignored the advances from other elite clubs in Europe for a move to Juve last summer.

Since he put pen to paper on a five-year contract with the Old Lady, the Netherlands international hasn't been able to secure a spot in Maurizio Sarri's starting XI, and has been linked with a move away from the Italian champions after spending less than 12 months at the club.

More: Diego Costa doesn't think 'suspicious' Conte will last at Real Madrid. However, De Ligt's former youth team coach De Boer admits he never thought the 20-year-old would be interested in a move to the Turin. "Clubs closest to the Ajax system like, Man City and Barcelona were interested," De Boer told Gazzetta dello Sport. "It would have been easier to adapt. I thought he would have made a different choice, but I respect the decision very much."

De Boer added: "I was working in the academy of Ajax, I immediately liked his character: serious, intelligent, kind, he never complains, he works hard and learns. "And then he always had the skills of the great defender. He understood where the danger was coming... I remember him at under-14 level, when he returned from the following year 30 centimetres taller. He will be one of the best of this era, sure."

More: Inter Milan set to offer PSG's Edison Cavani a deal.

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