De Ligt explains Juventus criticism, wants 'to get my Ajax game back'

By Sports Desk August 13, 2022

Matthijs de Ligt insists he did not "attack" Juventus when pointing out the club had underperformed, although he feels he will be better suited to playing for Bayern Munich.

De Ligt left Juve for Bayern ahead of the 2022-23 season, having widely been seen as failing to fulfil his potential in three years in Turin.

The Netherlands centre-back was outstanding in Ajax's run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals, earning a move to Juve, where he faced a battle for his place.

De Ligt started fewer than 30 Serie A matches in each of his three seasons with the Bianconeri.

There was some backlash then when De Ligt, discussing the possibility of a transfer in June, criticised Juve's back-to-back fourth-placed finishes.

Speaking to De Telegraaf on Saturday, De Ligt explained: "In an interview with NOS in June, I said that – as the club itself thinks – to be fourth tw‪ice in a row with Juventus is not good enough.

"That was not an attack on Juventus. Not at all, because I will always have the utmost respect for this club.

"For me, it was just a fact that no one could be satisfied, that the bar had to be raised, including for me. Maybe it came across incorrectly."

De Ligt added he would "never forget" the help he received from his Juve team-mates in his "development as a footballer and as a person".

However, he likened the style of play in Serie A to chess, saying it is "much more tactical".

Now, De Ligt believes both he and Louis van Gaal's Netherlands team can benefit from his move to Bayern, where the approach is more in line with that he learned at Ajax.

"I am very happy that I was able to experience that [at Juve], that I was able to play that way, because I have learned a lot," he said.

"The reason for going to Juventus was also to become a better defender, even though there were differences with the Dutch national team.

"At Juventus, I often had to stay in the position, while at certain times I was required to go [forward] with the Oranje.

"At Bayern, I want to get my Ajax game back again.

"[Bayern coach Julian] Nagelsmann's playing style is much closer to what Louis van Gaal asks of his defenders: defending high, putting high pressure, connecting well and playing forward a lot.

"I think it's a move that can be good for the Dutch national team and my chances, but I did discuss the transfer with [Van Gaal]. He said he had a great time here."

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