This is new Bayern signing Matthijs de Ligt
Servus and welkom, Matthijs de Ligt. The 22-year-old joins FC Bayern from Juventus and will strengthen the German record champions' defence. Despite his youth, the central defender has already gained a wealth of experience. We take a closer look at the FCB newcomer.
Matured in the Ajax youth system
Matthijs de Ligt was born on 12 August 1999 in Leiderdorp in the Netherlands. In 2009, he moved from his boyhood club FC Abcoude to the Ajax academy, where he represented the Dutch record champions at every youth level. In September 2015, the then 16-year-old was handed his first professional contract by Ajax.
Rapid rise and youngest Ajax captain
De Ligt first made his mark on the big stage in the 2016/17 season. As a 17-year-old, he made his professional debut for Ajax in the KNVB Cup against Willem II Tilburg in September 2016 and immediately got his name on the scoresheet. As the season progressed, he established himself as a first-choice player and played a key role in Ajax reaching the Europa League final, where they were defeated 2-0 by Manchester United. He also made his maiden appearance for the Netherlands senior team in March 2017, becoming the youngest debutant since 1945. De Ligt's development continued apace: in the following season he was an undisputed Ajax first-team player and in April 2018 he became the youngest captain in the history of the Dutch record champions.
De Ligt leads brilliant Ajax team
By the 2018/19 season at the latest, everyone in European football had de Ligt on their radar. At the age of just 19, he captained Ajax to their first double of the Dutch championship and KNVB Cup since 2001/02. In Europe, the young Ajax side caused a sensation in the Champions League. After finishing second behind FC Bayern in the group stage (1-1 in the first leg, 3-3 in the second), de Ligt and Co went on to knock out both Real Madrid and Juventus. In the semi-finals, Ajax suffered an unfortunate defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur (1-0 win away, 3-2 defeat at home). In 2018, de Ligt was the recipient of the "Golden Boy" award as best U21 player, and in the 18/19 season he was voted Dutch Footballer of the Year.
Move to Juventus
In the summer of 2019, de Ligt moved from Ajax to Juventus. There, he was a key player in central defence and celebrated winning the Italian championship with the Old Lady in his maiden season. The Dutchman missed the start of the following campaign due to shoulder surgery but fought his way back into the starting XI. De Ligt and Juventus ended the 2020/21 season by winning the Italian Super Cup, the Supercoppa Italiana, as well as the Coppa Italia. He finished last season in fourth place with Juve, who lost the cup final to Inter Milan in extra time.
Physicality paired with excellent build-up play
De Ligt is regarded as a complete defender. Like hardly any other defender of his age, he combines an enormously powerful physique with excellent build-up play. At just 22 years of age, he already boasts the experience of 38 international caps for the Netherlands as well as 29 Champions League appearances and 164 top-flight games in the Eredivisie and Serie A.