Juventus sign de Ligt

July 19, 2019

TURIN, Italy (AP):

Matthijs de Ligt became the most expensive defender in Serie A history after completing a EU75-million (J$11.3-billion) transfer from Ajax on Thursday.

Juventus announced the deal's completion, saying they had signed the Netherlands international to a five-year contract.

The 19-year-old de Ligt was captain of the Ajax squad that reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals last season, having scored the winning goal against Juventus in the quarter-finals.

The highly regarded centre back is set to join a veteran defence featuring Juventus stalwarts Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.

Juventus said in a statement that the deal was "reached for a consideration of EU75 million, payable in five financial years, and additional costs of EU10.5 million (J$1.5 billion)".

While contract details were not revealed, de Ligt's contract is reportedly worth EU8 million (J$1.2 billion) per season, and could reach EU12 million (J$1.8 billion) with bonuses.

De Ligt's signing follows that of midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot by Juventus, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also back after one season away at Paris Saint-Germain.

And as Cristiano Ronaldo enters his second season at Juventus, the Turin club is putting together a serious bid to win the elusive Champions League.

Since Juventus' last title in 1996, it has finished as runner-up five times in the top European competition.

Strong both on the ground and in the air, de Ligt scored twice with headers in the Champions League last season -- with only Ronaldo (four) managing more.

He becomes the fifth Dutch player for Juventus after Ouasim Bouy, Eljero Elia, Edwin van der Sar and Edgar Davids.

Juventus are an overwhelming favourite to win a record-extending ninth straight Serie A title.

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