Matthijs De Ligt is a Dutch professional football player. He has proved his skills in the centre-back position at Ajax and Juventus. He is a talented player with reputation and a brilliant defender. In this article we will review top facts about Matthijs De Ligt.
Matthijs de Ligt is best known by the nickname “The Total Defender“.
Top facts about Matthijs de Ligt
article presents a collection of remarkable events from his childhood period to date. It includes Matthijs de Ligt early life, family background, professional career, and personal life. Obviously, Matthijs de Ligt is one of the best defenders in the world. Now let’s Begin.
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Let's start with the
top facts about Matthijs de Ligt
Full Name in home country: Matthijs de Ligt
Nickname: The Total Defender
Matthijs de Ligt Date of birth: 12 August 1999
Matthijs de Ligt Place of birth: Leiderdorp, Netherlands
Age of Matthijs de Ligt: 22 years old
Height of Matthijs de Ligt: 1.89 metre
Matthijs de Ligt Nationality: Dutch
Position of Matthijs de Ligt: Center-back
Matthijs de Ligt agent: Mino Raiola
Current club of Matthijs de Ligt: Juventus
Matthijs de Ligt Jersey/Kit Number: 4
Social media of Matthijs de Ligt: Instagram: @mdeligt_
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One of the
top facts about Matthijs de Ligt
is that he was born on the 12th day of August 1999 to his parents, Vivian de Ligt and Frank de Ligt in Leiderdorp, which is a town in the west of the Netherlands.
Just after his birth, Matthijs de Ligt’s parents migrated to Abcoude, a town close to the south of Amsterdam. In addition to getting better economic prospect, his parents including his siblings established a profound love withAjax
Matthijs de Ligt was their first child and son to his parents Vivian and Frank. Later in his early childhood life, he had other siblings, a set of twins called Fleur and Wouter. All of them have had a happy life until now.
Matthijs de Ligt always helped his brothers since his early life. Wouter, his little sibling always felt fortunate to have a big brother with whom he had shared a bond since their childhood.
Matthijs de Ligt and his brothers formed the habit of never letting each other to wander in the dark unaccompanied. Also, when Ajax players scored, both brothers used to scream through their living room. One of their leisure activities was that their parents took them to Ajax stadium (Johan Cruijff Arena) to watch football during weekdays.
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One of the top facts about Matthijs de Ligt is that he never thought that he would become a football player when he was a little child. In fact, his first sporting success was in tennis rather than in football. When he was five years old, Matthijs de Ligt started playing tennis which he played very well.
Although he was a tennis player, Matthijs had difficulty considering tennis as his professional career. He had to choose other options. Fortunately for him, one day, he was introduced to football by one of his friend who invited him for a training session. Just instantly after the training, Matthijs started playing football.
It took about a year for Matthijs de Ligt to settle into the new sport he had chosen. He successfully joined the roster of his local youth team, FC Abcoude who gave him the time to prove his talent. Matthijs de Ligt would always have his little brother Wouter go with him to club activities.
While he was at FC Abcoude, he had a strong determination and focused on a new dream of becoming a professional player. Actually, his ambitions were followed by hard work and it was not just a short-lived fancy. Matthijs played for FC Abcoude for 3 more years and he improved his skills and kept his dreams.
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Top facts about Matthijs de Ligt also include beginning of his presence at Ajax. He played for Ajax from 2008 to 2019. When he was 9 years old, Matthijs de Ligt was already been sought by Ajax who had interest in him for two reasons. The first reason was that he was the best player of his age. The second reason was because of his notable growth which was stable and met their requirements at first.
Though, as time went on, doubts by Ajax scouts began to continue. They feared that Matthijs de Ligt was becoming heavier at a rate that might seem unfriendly to the sport. However, they took the risk as they saw that he still had the talent in him.
De Ligt finally spent a successful spell at Jong Ajax (referred to as Ajax II or Ajax 2). At Ajax, Matthijs became a modest boy whose ability to control the ball impressed everyone.
According to an interview by Matthijs de Ligt, the most outstanding moment was meeting Luis Suarez a time he still played at Ajax II.
He made his first appearance for Jong Ajax on 8 August 2016 in an Eerste Divisie match against FC Emmen, playing the full match. During the season, De Ligt played in 17 games for Jong Ajax.
In 2017, Ajax once provoked some of its fans due to their official Facebook page. The Dutch team used the posted “Next year, together in one team” to refer to the photo of Matthijs de Ligt and Luis Suarez who played at Barcelona at that time.
Many Ajax fans found this very unprofessional for the team to refer to transfers in that way. Perhaps it was a reason why the club never sold Matthijs de Ligt to Barca in to avoid legal issues.
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On 21 September 2016, Matthijs de Ligt made his first appearance for Ajax's senior team in a cup game against Willem II. He netted from a corner after 25 minutes, making him the second-youngest goalscorer ever after Clarence Seedorf. Ajax won the match 5–0. On 24 October, Ajax declared via Twitter account that De Ligt had been promoted to the senior team.
Matthijs de Ligt rapidly proved himself in the first team after being promoted and continued to play in 11 league matches and 9 in the Europa League. On 24 May, he became the youngest football player ever (17 years and 285 days old) to play in a main European final when he started againstManchester United
in the 2017 UEFA Europa League Final in which Ajax lost 2-0.
After the sale of Davinson Sánchez to Tottenham Hotspur in August 2017, Matthijs de Ligt became a fixed first team player. He was named the youngest captain of Ajax in March 2018 after the club captain Joel Veltman was injured.
Matthijs de Ligt played in 37 games in all competitions and netted three goals. He started in all of his 31 league games and played 90 minutes in all except one of them in which he was substituted in the 33rd minute against Vitesse Arnhem due to an injury. Due to Matthijs de Ligt 's performances for Ajax, he was linked with many of Europe's best teams.
One of the top facts about Matthijs de Ligt is that in December 2018, he won the Golden Boy award, becoming the first defender to win the prize.
Matthijs de Ligt’s constant courage, bravery and link with Ajax fans led him to pass the captaincy necessities for his Ajax team. So, in February 2019, De Ligt became the youngest ever captain in a Champions League knockout match at 19 years and 186 days old, in a game against Real Madrid.
At the end of February 2019, he played his 100th official game for Ajax in a 0–3 Klassieker victory against Feyenoord in the Dutch national cup, becoming the youngest Ajax player ever to reach this landmark.
On 16 April 2019, Matthijs de Ligt netted the winning goal in the Champions League quarter-final againstJuventus
to lead Ajax on to the semi-final of the tournament for the first time since the 1996–97 season of the competition. His goal also caused him to become the youngest Dutch player to score a goal in the knockout stages since Nordin Wooter in 1996 and the second-youngest ever defender to score after Joel Matip.
Matthijs de Ligt’s personal life brands and popularity gave more improvement to other Ajax young stars especially Kasper Dolgberg and Frenkie de Jong.
One of the most important facts about Matthijs de Ligt is his contract with the Old Lady. He signed for Serie A champions Juventus on 18 July 2019 on a five-year deal for a salary of €75 million, to be paid in five annual installments, with additional expenditures of €10.5 million.
He played his first official match for the Old Lady in a 4–3 home win over Napoli in Serie A on 31 August. On 3 November, he netted his first goal for the team in a 1–0 away win over cross-city rivals Torino in the Derby della Mole.
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Matthijs de Ligt made his first appearance for the Dutch national team in a 2–0 away defeat to Bulgaria in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match on 25 March 2017. Danny Blind, National team coach, called De Ligt up for the national team despite the fact that he had only started two league games for Ajax in that season. At the age of 17, Matthijs de Ligt became the youngest football player to start for the Dutch national team since 1931.
Matthijs de Ligt started and played 90 minutes in all four group matches during the UEFA Nations League against Germany and France. The Netherlands won the group and qualified for the next stage of Nations League. In the semi-finals on 5 June, he netted a header against England as the Netherlands national team secured a spot in the final match, in which the Netherlands was defeated 0–1 by Portugal.
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Experts believe that Matthijs de Ligt as one of the most talented young defenders in the world of football. He won the 2018 Golden Boy award, at age of 19. This award is given to the best and most notable young player in European football.
Due to the fact that Matthijs de Ligt has played as an attacking midfielder in his youth, he is both a physical and technical right-footed centre-back football player. De Ligt is recognized for his power of excellent tackling, anticipation, marking players, height, power, quickness and accurate ability of passing, which allows him to start attacking plays from the back. Furthermore, his height lets him to be a main threat from set pieces, while his power allows him, especially in aerial duels, to control the ball very well.
Matthijs de Ligt playing style is usually compared to that of Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué. He has also been compared to Jan Vertonghen, because of his similar forward surges, a tendency to create an extra man in midfield, and coolness on the ball, and to his countryman Ronald Koeman, due to his powerful shot and strength of his body.
UEFA website has described Matthijs de Ligt with these words: "A natural leader, De Ligt is an elegant two-footed central defender. Dominant in the air, he is blessed with strength, fine distribution and composure, and is able to play out from the back thanks to his confidence in possession, while his intelligent positioning helps him deny pacy forwards.
With his ability to read the game, he could even play in midfield. His leadership also stands him out: he was 18 when he was made Ajax skipper." Moreover, Paul Wilkes of The Independent also pointed out that "De Ligt’s ability to play out from the back and organise his fellow teammates are valuable commodities in a time when the lack of quality defenders has been highlighted."
Jamie Carragher, formerLiverpool
and England defender praised Matthijs de Ligt for his "physical attributes" and "leadership qualities". Also, Carragher continued to say that he plays "like he's 24 or 25" which indicates his maturity and strength. Jaap Stam, former Dutch centre-back said about De Ligt: "He's got composure on the ball, he's aggressive tactically, he sees the game, he reads the game well and he's got that driving force for himself as well in what you need to achieve and where you want to go to."
After Matthijs de Ligt signed his contract with Juventus, one of the club's former managers, Marcello Lippi, said about the defender's excellent performances: “I've seen plenty of greats, like Alessandro Nesta, Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Ciro Ferrara, Fabio Cannavaro, and Marco Materazzi. I've never seen anyone like that at his age.”
Jose Mourinho, Tottenham Hotspur manager has asserted that "We played against De Ligt [in 2017] and he already seemed like a 26-year-old, much more experienced than he was. Physically he is very strong. Now, two years later, he is genuinely a fantastic football player."
In 2019, Giacomo Chiuchiolo called Matthijs de Ligt as a "complete" and gifted young defender, pointing out that that though he is not remarkably fast, he has excellent positioning and a capability to read the game, in addition to his other technical and physical qualities.
Nevertheless, when he started playing at Juventus, despite his skills, he had been under criticism at times in the media for being inconsistent, due to his tendency to commit infrequent lapses or mistakes. Even though Leonardo Bonucci his Juventus defensive teammate has said that he believes that Matthijs de Ligt will overcome these flaws with time and he would develop and gain more experience with age, and positively adjusts to the Juventus new defensive tactics under manager Maurizio Sarri, who used a zonal system rather than man–to–man marking.
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One of the top facts about Matthijs de Ligt is about his relationships. Matthijs de Ligt was in relationship with Annick Diekman. The lady had already given her heart out to him before Matthijs de Ligt became famous. Annick Diekman is a hockey girl who plays for a club in Amsterdam, HC Athena.
Annick Diekman is also a graduate of a youth theater school in Amsterdam. News of their relationship was known in the middle of 2014. At that time they started dating due to the fact that they felt that they loved each other. Matthijs de Ligt was just 15 years old at that time. They dated until the beginning of 2018 and finally they broke up.
Then, Matthijs de Ligt started a new relationship with Annekee Molenaar in 2018 and they have been together so far. It is said that she was de Ligt's sweetheart since his childhood. Annekee Molenaar is the daughter of the well-known Dutch lawyer and former football player Keje Molenaar.
In spite of the fact that they had been together since 2018, Matthijs de Ligt and Annekee Molenaar have not made any decision to get married yet.
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Contrasting most talented youth footballers, Matthijs de Ligt personal life characteristic is distinctive and different. Many who know Matthijs describe him to be a peaceful, ambitious, attentive, serious and bright person who has a joyful, social and trustworthy personality.
Matthijs de Ligt does not like having non-career related attention and loves to spend time alone. When he is not playing football, Matthijs would be with his love or probably play FIFA or watch shows on Netflix all days. He is not the sort of person who wants to spend a lot of time with everyone.
One of the facts about Matthijs de Ligt is that when his mother asked him to get his driver’s license he refused to do so at first. Matthijs said that attending driving lessons would not fit into his personal training timetable and it may interrupt his professional career. At that time, Matthijs de Ligt often focused constantly on what he needed to be a good defender.
It’s worth mentioning that on 8 January 2021, Matthijs de Ligt tested positive for COVID-19 amid the pandemic in Italy.
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Championship in 2018–19
Championship in 2018–19
UEFA Europa League
runner-up in 2016–17
Championship in 2019–20
runner-up in 2019–20
runner-up in 2020
Championship in 2021
UEFA Nations League
runner-up in 2019
Best player in 2015
Ajax Talent of the Future
(Sjaak Swart Award) in 2016
Ajax Talent of the Year
(Marco van Basten Award) in 2018
UEFA Europa League Squad
of the Season in 2016–17
UEFA Champions League Squad
of the Season in 2018–19
of the Year in 2017–18 and 2018–19
Dutch Football Talent
of the Year in 2017–18
Dutch Footballer of the Year
The Best FIFA Men's Player
in 2019 (9th place)
FIFA FIFPro World11
IFFHS Men's World Team
UEFA Team of the Year
ABN AMRO Future Cup
Best player in 2015